Switchgrass Data Files

There are two main categories of databases that were created as part of the project:  (1) Parcel Information Databases and (2) Refinery Candidates Buffer Statistics Databases

Parcel Information Databases

The county Parcel Information Databases contain land cover/land use statistics including the acres of hay, barren land, corn, forest, wetland, water, development, and grassland on every parcel over 20 acres in each county.  Each Parcel Information Database also contains the distance in miles from each parcel over 20 acres to the nearest school, hospital, major lake or river, water source watershed, major road, railroad, and park or conservation area.  If available, the zoning of each parcel is also included.  Finally, the average soil rank of the parcel is included, which represents the suitability of the soil for growing switchgrass.  Additional information including a description of the field names used in the databases, metadata for the data files used to calculate the statistics, the procedures used to create the databases, and the tools and scripts used are included in the metadata zip packets below.

The Parcel Information Databases could be very useful for locating the best parcels to build any number of commercial or industrial structures, making it a versatile tool for planning or economic development.  For example, any type of business could find parcels that are a certain number of acres, near a major road, etc.  Alternatively, a conservation group could find parcels near current conservation areas, near watersheds or heavily wooded areas, and further from major roads.

Note that in addition to the fields described above, all of the original data fields in the parcel files obtained from each county were retained, including the address of each parcel.  For more information on the meanings of these fields contact the appropriate county GIS department.

Refinery Candidates Buffer Statistics Databases

The county Refinery Candidates Buffer Statistics Database files contain buffer statistics for each parcel within each county that meets the requirements for a Candidate Refinery site.  A Refinery Candidate is a parcel that is more than 20 acres; not within 1/2 mile of a school, hospital, lake, watershed, or conservation area; within 1/2 mile of a major road; and not more than 50% forest, more than 20% developed, or more than 10% wetland.

For each Refinery Candidate Parcel, the total amount of each land cover/land use type is calculated for within 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 miles of the parcel.  All parcels larger than 20 acres that are within 50 miles of the Central Piedmont region were used to calculate the land use totals.  Note that the calculated totals are only for parcels within North Carolina, even if the buffer around a parcel extends outside of the state.  The number of parcels, the average soil rank, and an estimated transportation cost within each buffer distance is included to aid in comparing Refinery Candidate parcels.  More information including the field names used in the databases, metadata for the data files used to calculate the statistics, the procedures used to create the databases, and the tools and scripts used are included in the metadata zip packets below.

The Refinery Candidates Buffer Statistics Databases could be used by an investor to determine the amount of biofuel crop acres within each set distance, which estimates the size of the refinery that can be supported.  Or these stats could be used to find a parcel that will support a certain refinery size.  The stats could also be used to locate and size a pelletizing plant or other biomass operation.

Note that in addition to the fields described above, all of the original data fields in the parcel files obtained from each county were retained, including the address of each parcel.  For more information on the meanings of these fields, contact the appropriate county GIS department.

Parcel Information Databases

The county Parcel Information Databases contain land cover/land use statistics including the acres of hay, barren land, corn, forest, wetland, water, development, and grassland on every parcel over 20 acres in each county.  Each Parcel Information Database also contains the distance in miles from each parcel over 20 acres to the nearest school, hospital, major lake or river, water source watershed, major road, railroad, and park or conservation area.  If available, the zoning of each parcel is also included.  Finally, the average soil rank of the parcel is included, which represents the suitability of the soil for growing switchgrass.  Additional information including a description of the field names used in the databases, metadata for the data files used to calculate the statistics, the procedures used to create the databases, and the tools and scripts used are included in the metadata zip packets below.

The Parcel Information Databases could be very useful for locating the best parcels to build any number of commercial or industrial structures, making it a versatile tool for planning or economic development.  For example, any type of business could find parcels that are a certain number of acres, near a major road, etc.  Alternatively, a conservation group could find parcels near current conservation areas, near watersheds or heavily wooded areas, and further from major roads.

Note that in addition to the fields described above, all of the original data fields in the parcel files obtained from each county were retained, including the address of each parcel.  For more information on the meanings of these fields contact the appropriate county GIS department.

Refinery Candidates Buffer Statistics Databases

The county Refinery Candidates Buffer Statistics Database files contain buffer statistics for each parcel within each county that meets the requirements for a Candidate Refinery site.  A Refinery Candidate is a parcel that is more than 20 acres; not within 1/2 mile of a school, hospital, lake, watershed, or conservation area; within 1/2 mile of a major road; and not more than 50% forest, more than 20% developed, or more than 10% wetland.

For each Refinery Candidate Parcel, the total amount of each land cover/land use type is calculated for within 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 miles of the parcel.  All parcels larger than 20 acres that are within 50 miles of the Central Piedmont region were used to calculate the land use totals.  Note that the calculated totals are only for parcels within North Carolina, even if the buffer around a parcel extends outside of the state.  The number of parcels, the average soil rank, and an estimated transportation cost within each buffer distance is included to aid in comparing Refinery Candidate parcels.  More information including the field names used in the databases, metadata for the data files used to calculate the statistics, the procedures used to create the databases, and the tools and scripts used are included in the metadata zip packets below.

The Refinery Candidates Buffer Statistics Databases could be used by an investor to determine the amount of biofuel crop acres within each set distance, which estimates the size of the refinery that can be supported.  Or these stats could be used to find a parcel that will support a certain refinery size.  The stats could also be used to locate and size a pelletizing plant or other biomass operation.

Note that in addition to the fields described above, all of the original data fields in the parcel files obtained from each county were retained, including the address of each parcel.  For more information on the meanings of these fields, contact the appropriate county GIS department.

Click here to view the files that were created as part of this project.