Date of Award


Degree Name

Physical Science


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Ralph E. Oberly

Second Advisor

James O. Brumfield

Third Advisor

Anita Walz


The study area for this project is Corridor H, a designated Appalachian Development Highway located in Lewis, Upshur, Barbour Counties which are part of the Appalachian Plateau Province, and Randolph, Tucker, Grant and Hardy Counties which are Part of the Ridge and Valley Province in West Virginia. The region has a long history of occupation and a traditional economic structure consisting of mainly agriculture, timbering and coal mining. The final objective of the study was to perform change detection, using two Landsat datasets obtained from the USGS of the study area from 1987 and 2005 to determine if economic development, via change to cropland/ pasture and Urban Built Up Areas, could be measured and detected along Corridor H by using remote sensing techniques. Geometric Registration, Principal Component Analysis, Radiometric Normalization, Accuracy Analysis, Unsupervised Classification, and Spatial Analysis logical operators were utilized in IDRISI, ERMapper, and ESRI to complete the study. The total land change for the study area for Urban was 1.4% of the total 2,573,351 acres and 4.9% for change in Cropland/Pasture. More significantly there is a 2.7 %increase in Urban development within a 1-mile buffer around the length of Corridor H in the study area. When a buffer was placed 1-mile around Corridor H from Weston to Elkins the percentage of change increased to 4.5% for Urban areas and 7.5% for Cropland/Pasture. These results indicate economic change is occurring already along Corridor H before its completion. The development of this data will provide a baseline on which to base future studies of the area for tracking the expected economic growth of the region, and for Appalachian corridor highway systems in general. This data should be used with more traditional methods of economic impact and growth reporting and measurement, to focus these studies, and supply spatial relevance to changes in rural Appalachia.


Urbanization - West Virginia.

Economic development.

Urban economics.

Economic development projects - West Virginia.