Research Overview

SCHOOL OF EARTH & ENVIRONMENT

Research Overview

Recent Research Highlights

  • The first-ever NASA mission to collect an asteroid sample and return it to Earth for analysis launches on Thursday, Sept. 8, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Founding chair and professor in the Department of Geology, Harold C. Connolly, Jr., is the mission sample scientist for OSIRIS-REx, the $1 billion mission designed to help scientists understand the early solar system by taking samples from the asteroid Bennu. Connolly has been involved with OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) since 2008 and will lead scientists in the study of up to two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of a “pristine, carbon-rich” sample from the asteroid. OSIRIS-REx will begin its journey back to Earth in March of 2021, and the spacecraft will return to Earth with the asteroid sample in September of 2023
  • In a thin, six-inch bone bed on the site of a former marl pit, Dr. Kenneth Lacovara is leading research at the Rowan University Fossil Park in Mantua Township, N.J. The park contains thousands of fossils and provides researchers with the best window, east of the Mississippi, into the Cretaceous Period—the heyday of the dinosaurs. Lacovara’s team is analyzing the fossils, the sediments and the geochemistry of the site to gain a clearer picture of the period when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
  • The Geospatial Research Laboratory is the GIS and Planning research unit housed in the Department of Geography and Environment at Rowan University. The GeoLab conducts research on a myriad of geospatial topics, primarily land use development patterns, impervious surface trading, watershed quality analysis, and interactive web-based mapping.

Other Research Projects Include:

  • NJ MAP (Municipal Asset Profiler)—With support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, NJ MAP will integrate the latest technology in automated web-based mapping to provide detailed land use and environmental information to local municipal stakeholders.
  • Changing Landscapes in the Garden State—Detailed analyses of New Jersey's land resources and how they have changed over the past several decades, this report inventories how development is occurring largely in a sprawling pattern and how open spaces are being lost.
  • The New Jersey Land Use Change Viewer allows you to explore the data behind the Changing Landscapes report and view animated maps that show the progression of development and the loss of open space.
  • NJ National Guard GIS Internship Program—Using satellite-enabled cameras and survey equipment, Rowan University geography students and Rowan GIS specialist John Reiser are mapping the New Jersey National Guard facilities throughout the state. Read more about this internship program.
  • NJ National Guard Environmental Compliance Internship Program—The GeoLab works with NJARNG, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (EMB) to maintain and implement environmental compliance practices throughout New Jersey.
  • Evidence of Persistent Exclusionary Effects of Land Use Policy within Historic and Projected Development Patterns in New Jersey—Analysis of residential and non-residential land use development patterns to explore the effects of New Jersey’s current land management policies and the persistence of exclusionary zoning influences.
  • DoubleTake (Seward Johnson) exhibit maps
  • Analysis of Light Rail Alternatives—Analysis of the geographic factors that will influence the success of the commuter transit alternatives currently proposed for Southern New Jersey and a detailed station location analysis in Glassboro.
  • Impervious Cap & Trade: A proposal for an alternate approach to TDR—A conceptual framework for an innovative approach to Transferable Development Rights (TDR) that uses an impervious surface cap and trade system to better integrate environmental management with smart growth and sustainability land planning objectives.
  • Geospatial Indices of Urban Sprawl—So what is sprawl anyway? Professor John Hasse's groundbreaking research provides a GIS framework for understanding the development patterns that create undesirable outcomes in land use.
  • Rowan Facilities Web Mapping
  • Rowan Tree Inventory & Arboretum Efforts
  • Student Geovisualization Projects—Students use geovisualization tools to create 3D digital models of buildings as well as dynamic photo-mosaics of campus art displays.

Our ongoing study, Changing Landscapes in the Garden State, focuses on land use development patterns in New Jersey over a period spanning several decades.

The interactive component to the Changing Landscapes report is the New Jersey Land Change Viewer. The Land Change Viewer allows you to explore the data behind the report and view animated maps that show the progression of development and the loss of open space.

Our most recent report is titled, "Evidence of Persistent Exclusionary Effects of Land Use Policy within Historic and Projected Development Patterns in New Jersey." This analysis explores the effect zoning decisions have made on the availability of affordable housing within New Jersey.