A web-based multicriteria evaluation of spatial trade-offs between environmental and economic implications from hydraulic fracturing in a shale gas region in Ohio

  • X. Liu
  • P. V. Gorsevski
  • M. M. Yacobucci
  • C. M. Onasch


Planning of shale gas infrastructure and drilling sites for hydraulic fracturing has important spatial implications. The evaluation of conflicting and competing objectives requires an explicit consideration of multiple criteria as they have important environmental and economic implications. This study presents a web-based multicriteria spatial decision support system (SDSS) prototype with a flexible and user-friendly interface that could provide educational or decision-making capabilities with respect to hydraulic fracturing site selection in eastern Ohio. One of the main features of this SDSS is to emphasize potential trade-offs between important factors of environmental and economic ramifications from hydraulic fracturing activities using a weighted linear combination (WLC) method. In the prototype, the GIS-enabled analytical components allow spontaneous visualization of available alternatives on maps which provide value-added features for decision support processes and derivation of final decision maps. The SDSS prototype also facilitates nonexpert participation capabilities using a mapping module, decision-making tool, group decision module, and social media sharing tools. The logical flow of successively presented forms and standardized criteria maps is used to generate visualization of trade-off scenarios and alternative solutions tailored to individual user’s preferences that are graphed for subsequent decision-making.


Spatial decision support system Hydraulic fracturing site selection Multivariate criteria evaluation Weighted linear combination ArcGIS API for Silverlight 



The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers, who provided helpful suggestions and excellent additions to the manuscript. This research stems from the master’s thesis work of Xiaohui Liu, which was supported partially by Bowling Green State University and largely by the U.S. Department of Energy’s award numbers DE-FG36-06GO86096 and DEEE0003871.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • X. Liu
    • 1
  • P. V. Gorsevski
    • 2
  • M. M. Yacobucci
    • 2
  • C. M. Onasch
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA
  2. 2.Bowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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