Developing A GIS Suitability Analysis to Route Natural Gas Pipelines Using Open-Cut Trenching

Authors: Owen Wickenheiser*, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Matthew Hess, Temple University, Jeffrey Brunskill, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franek, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Natural Resources
Keywords: Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Natural Gas Pipelines, Pipeline Route Planning, Stream Crossing
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In recent years natural gas has become an important source of energy production in Pennsylvania. This demand has led to the construction of many new miles of transmission lines to transfer gas from gathering fields to markets. When planning the routes of new transmission lines multiple terrain factors must be considered. A geographic information system (GIS) is uniquely qualified to address these factors. This project presents the preliminary results of an effort to create an enhanced streams dataset for routing natural gas transmission lines across streams. This analysis considers the impact of the longitudinal and perpendicular slope characteristics of streams to evaluate the suitability of a segment for open-cut trenching methods during construction. The model considers three stream-related factors including stream sinuosity, longitudinal slope profile, and the flashiness of a stream segment. Each factor plays a role in determining the feasibility of construction along a proposed route. As straight stream segments are preferable to ones that meander, sinuosity is used to prioritize straighter streams. The steepness of a longitudinal slope profile has major impacts on the cost and stability of transmission pipelines, so profiles with gentle slopes are valued higher than others. Stream flashiness, an indicator of the likelihood that a stream is to flood, considers the impact of rising waters on construction and thus streams with a propensity to flood are avoided. The results of this preliminary project will be used to develop a broader enhanced streams dataset that will be made publicly available.

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