GEOG 469
Energy Industry Applications of GIS

Lesson Assignment


An Example of a Case Study

We will see how GIS is used in siting an electric transmission line by reading the referenced case study. This case study uses GIS to evaluate the best alternative for a proposed electric transmission line. The purpose for reading this case study is to familiarize you with a typical energy industry siting problem and with how GIS is used in the evaluation process.

Discussion Activity Directions

Start by reviewing the "Transmission Line Siting Report” case study. (34 Mb -- The report is 116 pages long...but don't panic!). The project is dated, but the concepts, approach and decision making used in this report are the same used today.

  • Scan the entire document to familiarize yourself with the siting process.
  • Read the Executive Summary and Sections 1.0 through 4.5 in detail. As you read, consider the following questions:
    • Why do you think the Archeological and Natural Heritage Sites are not published?
    • Why is it important to involve the public early on in the siting process?
    • Only 12.6 percent of the residents either responded to the siting questionnaire or attended the siting workshop.
    1. What do you believe caused the other 87.4 percent to not respond, even though this project may have had a direct impact on them? What is the basis for your answer?
    2. If the public is so concerned about siting and Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY), why do you think there was such a small response?
    3. In what other ways could utility planners increase awareness and participation?
    • Based on the results of the workshop, do you believe this public participation strategy successfully addresses public concerns? Would you consider this to be a model for how public participation should be conducted? If not, what changes would you suggest to improve the process?
    • What if Route G was in the middle from a cost standpoint. Do you believe the utility would have selected Route G, even though it was clearly the best alternative to minimize environmental/cultural/visibility impacts? Why or why not?

Now it is time to discuss your observations. Your initial post must be posted by Wednesday evening.

Go to the "Lesson 1 GRADED Discussion - Transmission Line Siting" discussion forum and:

  • Post an original answer to two of the questions from above.
  • Indicate whether you agree or disagree with what another person posted and why. A useful technique is a 2x2 technique—give 2 instances where you agree with the post and 2 instances where you disagree with the post.
  • Ask another person a question.
  • Contribute a "war story" that relates to the topic. These can be from your work, volunteering, personal life, or elsewhere.
  • Relate a recent news event, article you have read, or something similar to the class.
  • Continue the discussion until we have exhausted our debate and/or I have to draw the discussion to a close!


In order for this activity to work, everyone needs to check in to the discussion regularly and participate frequently ...don't procrastinate!

Grading Criteria

All students are expected to participate in the questions in their group discussions in a concise, well-organized, and scholarly manner. Saying, “I agree with Jennifer” is not adequate. You need to say why you agree (or disagree) and support your comments. Comments should be based on information obtained from appropriate reference sources, including lesson materials, previous coursework, Web-based information, or personal experience. You must use proper grammar and spelling for all contributions.

Your contributions to this assignment will be graded on a 15-point scale. Look at the discussion rubric for more details about my expectations.