Calling All FrackFinders — Help Us Map Fracking in Ohio!

You did it! Your collaborative image analysis effort with FrackFinder PA helped us build a map showing all of the active Marcellus Shale gas-drilling sites across the entire state of Pennsylvania in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2013.  More important, you identified all of the open-air fluid impoundments related to those drilling sites and the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).  We’re about to deliver that dataset to researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health (part of John Hopkins University) so they can investigate the respiratory and neonatal health implications of living near modern drilling sites. Soon, we will post that dataset online so anyone can download it for their own analysis or research.

But we can’t stop there. Drilling is booming across the US, thanks to the combination of horizontal drilling and fracking targeting what were formerly un-tappable reserves of oil and gas.  In neighboring Ohio, drilling mostly targets the Utica Shale, but there are some Marcellus Shale wells too.  We need your help with FrackFinder Ohio to identify active well pads on high-resolution aerial imagery from 2010, 2011 and 2013.  

And we are working on figuring out how to incorporate some smokin’ hot, super hi-res imagery shot by our friends at LightHawk in June. (That’s right, this June.)  Students from Walsh University will help us ground-truth some of the drilling sites you identify.  And, as always, the data will be made available to anyone who has a legitimate research, education, or public outreach need.

So help us build the gas-drilling map of Ohio.  It’s easy; it’s fun to look at imagery; and you’ll be contributing to a unique dataset that can help scientists answer fundamental questions about the impacts of modern oil and gas drilling.

 

4 replies
  1. John Amos says:

    Bert – if you're asking how we decide specifically where to look in Ohio, the answer is we target the locations where the state has issued a permit to drill an unconventional shale-gas well (mostly Utica Shale, some Marcellus Shale). If you're asking why we decided to analyze drilling in Ohio, instead of West Virginia or Colorado or Wyoming, a combination of factors go into that decision: Where is drilling activity raising concerns for local residents? Where can we leverage work being done by others (for example, LightHawk and FracTracker, two investigation / documentation / mapping orgs that we often collaborate with)? Is anyone willing to support our work in that area? We plan to eventually map every state that has active oil and gas drilling, but as a small organization we can't tackle the entire country all at once, so we have to work strategically.

  2. sa says:

    Way to go everyone!! Great idea to help find these wells. Since so little is required to be reported by wellpad operators its up to the rest of the world to do what regulatory agencies should be doing but cant (because they are gutted by congress).

  3. John Amos says:

    Thanks sa – the states also have a big role to play in regulating oil and gas drilling, and making drilling data available to the public, especially when the drilling is taking place on state or private land.

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