ABU assistant professor published

PHILIPPI – Alderson Broaddus University Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Aaron Maxwell has recently published one paper and contributed to a second. Maxwell wrote “Comparison of NAIP orthophotography and RapidEye satellite imagery for mapping of mining and mine reclamation” which appeared in the prestigious GIScience and Remote Sensing Journal earlier this month.

“My research focuses on means to improve the mapping of surface mines using imagery collected from satellites and aircraft,” said Maxwell. “This most recent paper compares aerial imagery and satellite imagery for mapping vegetation within a mountaintop mine permit. The goal of the research is to offer insight as to the best data for mapping mines and offers suggestions for improving the resulting map.”

The paper compared satellite-based imagery and aerial-based imagery for mapping land cover in a mountaintop coal surface mine.

“We found that the satellite data were optimal for the classification,” said Maxwell. “However, the accuracy of the classification based from aerial imagery could be improved by preprocessing the image using a variety of routines.”

The second paper, written by Dr. Nicolas P. Zegre, titled “Multiscale Analysis of Hydrology in a Mountaintop Mine-Impacted Watershed1” was published in the Journal of the American Water


The paper looked at land use/land cover change resulting from mining throughout a watershed extent. His goal was to investigate hydrologic alterations resulting from mountaintop mining at multiple spatial and temporal scales. This work relates to how the quantity of water flowing in a stream is potentially impacted by surface mines and valley fills. Maxwell’s involvement was mainly the land use/land cover analysis.

Alderson Broaddus Provost and Vice President for Academic Fairs Dr. Joan Propst says it is a privilege to have Maxwell among the stellar faculty at AB and among outstanding colleagues in the College of Science, Technology and Mathematics.

“Aaron is a rising star at AB,” said Propst. “He is highly competent in his field and well-liked by his students. His research interests and his publications demonstrate how very competent Aaron is in communicating his field to others.”

Dr. Ross Brittain, dean of the College of Science, Technology and Mathematics, echoes her sentiment.

“It is an honor to work with Professor Maxwell as he develops ABU’s Geospatial Laboratory from the ground up,” said Brittain. “This is just one paper among many yet to come in his career, and yet another demonstration of the high quality and expertise among the faculty we have in the ABU College of Science, Technology and Mathematics.”

Maxwell is currently studying at West Virginia University to earn his PhD in geology and his research is on the mapping of surface mines using satellite imagery. He is interested in satellite-based techniques for mapping and monitoring changing landscapes.