The Institute for Mine Mapping, Archival Procedures and Safety (IMAPS) has broad-ranging goals. These include the improvement of safety within Pennsylvania Coal mining, improved services such as mine subsidence insurance and community planning, providing training and experience in high-growth and high-demand fields for Pennsylvania students, and finally contributing to the Commonwealth’s economic development through information services helping with mine reclamation and new mining.
One of the long-range goals of the IMAPS organization is to present almost real-time accessibility to locationally-accurate mine map data base via World Wide Web connectivity. This resource is valuable to not only the private sector, where understanding the location of potential resources may be valuable, but also to the public sector where emergency response and environmental condition may be better understood. In addition to these immediate benefits, the database has many future applications as well. These include three-dimensional modeling and other virtual environment utilities.
On July 24, 2002, the nation held its breath while awaiting the fate of nine miners trapped in the flooded seam of a coal mine in Quecreek, Pennsylvania. Although these men were miraculously rescued, the disaster could have been avoided had accurate mine maps been readily available.
Other accidents have occurred since Quecreek. Forty-seven deaths related to coal mining were recorded in 2006. They point to the critical need for geographically accurate and accessible maps of active and abandoned coal mines as part of improved safety measures. Mining engineers, surveyors, emergency medical responders, construction contractors, and property owners need accurate and accessible information to predict mine subsidence and maximize safety.
The goal of the institute is to use state-of-the-art digital technology to develop a database of mine map images; to develop a methodology to interpret and process the mine maps images so that they are accurately referenced to recognized geospatial coordinate systems; to disseminate the methodology; to preserve the original mine maps; to provide access to the digital images for research; and to prepare safety professionals in the use of the digitized maps in the specialized area of mine safety.
In an effort to fulfill the mission of the institute, and in line with goals of IUP’s strategic plan—academic success, student development and success, civic engagement, and resource development—IMAPS will pursue the following: