In fall 2011, Professors Steve Jordan and Chris Daniels assigned a semester-long documentary project to students in Bucknell’s Environmental Residential College. The goal was to create video essays to tell the story of how the Marcellus Shale gas boom is impacting communities in northeastern Pennsylvania. Students visited communities impacted by the gas boom to conduct interviews and capture video footage that would help them tell the story of the local contexts in which the gas boom is taking place across the state.
In addition to other research methods, the teams of students used GIS to explore the spatial footprint of the gas boom on different communities. Students were tasked with integrating the spatial aspect of the story into their video essays. The clip below is taken from the ‘Hydrofracking & Air’ video created by students Zoe Gaston, Claire Rapp, Sarah Baker, Thuyvan Luu, Colin Lind and Kyle Montgomery – all first-year students in Bucknell’s Environmental Residential College.
To create the map animation seen in the video, the students worked with me to visualize GIS data in ArcMap and export the data to a GoogleEarth KML format. Next, the students used GoogleEarth to draw the estimated pathway of the pipeline connecting several air compressor stations in their area of interest. Then the students created an animation in GoogleEarth that was spliced into the video essay to illustrate the point they were trying to make about air pollution associated with natural gas infrastructure. By the way… in a few months Bucknell GIS expects to have data on all infrastructure related to natural gas and electricity generation in Pennsylvania – including pipelines and transmission lines (so that next time we’ll be able to be more precise than we were with the ‘connect the dot’ approach we employed in this video).
Click here to see the full-length ‘Hydrofracking & Air’ video and other videos submitted by students in the class.