Geospatial Grey Areas: Utilizing GIS to Analyze Coastal Land Use Patterns

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Resulting from the regions' rich array of cultures, history, and beautiful landscapes, Dingle, Ireland has become a popular tourist destination within recent years. With tourism only expected to rise in coming years, it is imperative that actions be taken to ensure the persistence of these natural ecosystems and traditions. This research project utilized geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze the Dingle Harbor and Ballyferriter watersheds. The Dingle Harbor and Ballyferriter watersheds are both similar in size and composition of their coastal ecosystems, but the differences between the two are noteworthy. Dingle harbor watershed has approximately 200 year-round residents, whereas Ballyferriter has roughly 90. More importantly, these areas differ vastly in the amounts of land allocated as undeveloped and developed territory. We conducted a geospatial analysis to classify land use by the following categories; farmland, arid scrub forest, developed areas, and livestock pasture. This project will lay the groundwork for future projects aimed at creating a model for sustainable tourism within the Dingle peninsula. The geospatial map produced here will be used for many years into the future as changes in land classification within the watersheds are monitored. This information will allow us to analyze changes in water quality across watersheds as a function of local land use development, tourism growth, changes within the natural system, and interactions between human and natural systems.


Eastern Colleges Science Conference, Wilkes-Barre, PA, April 2017. B-25. Retrieved from

Mentors: Dr. Mark Beekey and Dr. LaTina Steele.

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