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Harrisburg University of Science and Technology’s Geospatial Technology Center (GTC) has been awarded a $661,629 Mine Mapping Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The award follows a successful five years of HU Mine Mapping Grant work that began in the summer of 2013 and brings the total grant award to $1.4 million.

Grantees under the Mine Mapping Grant have worked to preserve, scan, georeference and vectorize tens of thousands of abandoned coal mine maps.  This work is developing a comprehensive database of historic maps which provides the public, and decision-makers, knowledge of the location of these abandoned mines in relation to above-ground structures.  DEP’s Mine Map Insurance program uses this information to help inform the public of the risk of mine subsidence and encourages the purchase of insurance protection.

The Mine Mapping Grant funding is made available exclusively to nonprofits and academic institutions, encouraging rich experiential learning opportunities for students.  While seven grantees worked on the original 2013 award, HU’s GTC is one of only three original grantees awarded grants with this round of funding.

During the past five years, more than 40 HU students have been employed through this grant, several of whom have logged nearly 3,000 hours while completing their degree programs.  The majority of GTC student employees work in HU’s Geospatial Technology program but students from the Environmental Science, Interactive Media, Computer Science, and Analytics programs all have contributed to this project.

The valuable experience gained through this work has played an important role in the rapid career placement of students upon graduation.  HU is thrilled to continue this important work enabling the continued experiential learning opportunities for our students.