Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Natural gas and oil drilling disturbance in the Marcellus Shale region of the New York - Pennsylvania border

December 16, 2019

The data comprise the initial release of landscape disturbance polygons and lines (sites, pipelines and roads) related to natural gas and oil drilling developed prior to the end of 2013 in the 10-county region along the New York - Pennsylvania border. The study area includes the New York Counties of Allegany, Broome, Chemung, Steuben and Tioga, and the Pennsylvania counties of Bradford, McKean, Potter, Susquehanna, and Tioga. The data were collected using high-resolution aerial imagery from the National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) for each available year between 2004 - 2013 within a geographic information system (GIS), along with additional geospatial data on oil and gas drilling permits and locations, administrative boundaries, ecoregions, and the footprint of the Marcellus Shale play. Data collection was a manual process of visually examining the NAIP imagery composite for each county for each year and using 2004 imagery as a baseline to identify and digitize landscape changes in the land cover resulting from the development of gas extraction infrastructure that occurred after 2004. Changes that correlated with natural gas extraction permits, appeared to be natural gas extraction related, or were in proximity to other gas extraction infrastructure were selected and digitized to the maximum extent of landscape disturbance. Disturbance that appeared in the 2004 imagery was collected; however, some of the collected disturbance for 2004 may predate the NAIP imagery collection date. The focus of the data collection was on features attributable to the construction, use, and maintenance of gas extraction drill sites, processing plants, and compressor stations, as well as the centerlines for new roads accessing such sites, plants, and stations, and the centerlines for new pipelines used to transport the extracted gas. Some of the roads and or pipelines may predate the data collection, however they appeared to be either expanded or worked on in relation to oil or gas activities in the study area. These data were collected within shapefiles by county, using ArcGIS 10.5. One shapefile was generated for sites (polygons), one was generated for roads (lines), and one was generated for pipelines (lines). Another team member reviewed the data for concurrence and consistency. These data identify disturbance related to natural gas and oil drilling, but do not identify the well types associated with that disturbance. For well type, see the New York Department of Environmental Conservation downloadable well data webpage ( or the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Oil and Gas Permit Database available at their web page (

Publication Year 2019
Title Natural gas and oil drilling disturbance in the Marcellus Shale region of the New York - Pennsylvania border
DOI 10.5066/F7TT4Q67
Authors Coral M. Howe, Terry Slonecker
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Office of the Southeast Regional Director