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Interstate Technical Group on Abandoned Underground Mines
Fourth Biennial Abandoned Underground Mine Workshop

Abstract: Using a Geographic Information System (GIS) as a Tool in Identifying, Documenting, and Investigating Abandoned Underground Mines

Roch Player
301 West Northern Lights Blvd, Suite 601
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

The Iowa Department of Transportation contracted CH2MHILL to perform geotechnical design services for approximately 25 km of new, four-lane mainline highway construction bypassing Ottumwa, Iowa, and surrounding communities. The part of the alignment known as the Ottumwa Bypass passes through deeply eroded terrain, rolling hills, and areas of former active coal mining. Ottumwa, Iowa, was a center of the coal mining industry in Iowa and many documented and undocumented abandoned coal mines exist in the project corridor.

The challenges presented by the terrain, geology, and the abandoned mines required the development of innovative approaches to site characterization. The use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) was invaluable in this effort. GIS was utilized to create a preliminary site model, identify areas of known mining activities, plan site investigations, and integrate existing information with information gathered during on-site activities. This allowed a continual refinement of the conceptual site model that improved site decision-making, site investigations, and analysis. ArcView GIS was the program used to integrate existing data sources, CAD files, photos, soil borings, geophysical investigations, and field observations.

The presentation will use the Ottumwa Bypass to illustrate the concept of GIS, how the technology can be applied, its use in abandoned mine-related issues, and the benefits of its use. Areas that will be highlighted include the locating and investigation of abandoned coal mines in the alignment corridor. The impacts to the alignment will be discussed, and the resulting changes to the alignment and interchange configurations will be presented.

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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