Mapping for Preservation
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

GIS displays geographic data by subject in order to understand spatial patterns where resources are located and how they relate to one another. Tax parcels, buildings, roads, forests, wetlands, floodplains and streams, as well as other information, can be graphically shown in layers and then analyzed. In evaluating these layers, Conservancy staff members provide innovative environmental assistance to municipal officials, landowners, farmers and others.

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GIS technology enables the Conservancy to produce high-quality color maps suitable for publication. The flexibility of GIS makes it possible to customize solutions to fit varying needs of municipalities and landowners. GIS is also compatible with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Computer Aided Design (CAD), which are often used by engineering firms to map subdivision plans and landscape designs.

The Brandywine Conservancy uses GIS to:
  • map changes in municipal zoning and land use,
  • identify sending and receiving zones for Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs,
  • depict watershed conditions related to biodiversity,
  • plan agricultural and conservation easements,
  • identify habitat for endangered species protection,
  • map, update or modify trail networks,
  • construct natural resources databases,
  • update tax parcel information,
  • analyze building sites,
  • prioritize efforts to protect open space, and
  • create build-out scenarios.
GIS in action
  • Stormwater Management
    The Brandywine Conservancy incorporated GIS analyses in a manual on stormwater management for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

  • Zoning Maps
    A GIS analysis of natural resources and zoning in Highland Township led the township to preserve farmland by converting from two-acre residential zoning to 25-acre minimum lots.

  • Easement Baseline Maps
    Baseline maps for conservation easements use data gathered from field surveys to document natural and man-made features. Such maps improve annual monitoring by easement managers.

  • Comprehensive Plans
    For Pocopson Township's comprehensive plan, GIS was used to prioritize efforts to protect natural and cultural resources.

  • Sensitive Species
    GIS has been used to help locate habitat for endangered species such as the Bog Turtle.

  • Transfer of Development Rights
    Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs rely heavily on GIS technology to map sending and receiving zones. West Bradford Township used GIS for its TDR program to balance growth and preservation within the township.

  • Three-Dimensional Analysis
    Three-dimensional presentation of data allows planners to consider different land-use scenarios and analyze the impacts of each on the surrounding landscape.

  • For more information send email to emc@brandywine.org, call 610-388-2700,
    or write to Brandywine Conservancy, P.O. Box 141, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

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