Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography & Geographic Information Science

First Advisor

Bradley C. Rundquist


Improved techniques and methods in directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing have allowed once inaccessible resources to become profitably accessible in the Bakken Region of North Dakota (Fershee 2011). This recent development has been rapid, and associated land-cover change can be described as spatially extensive (Baker et al. 2012). After an extensive literature review and to the best of my knowledge, little research has been conducted in the Bakken Region regarding land-cover change associated with oil development. Using high-spatial-resolution, four-band imagery from the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) in conjunction with Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA) techniques, it is possible to identify narrow-linear and small-area features on the landscape associated with oil development.

The overall accuracy for McKenzie County was 41.2 percent, significantly lower than overall accuracies seen in similar studies. These results suggest this method is not entirely suitable for land-cover change analysis in the grassland biome without additional data analysis and/or editing. Further analysis of a selected smaller portion of the county displaying land-cover characteristics amenable for accurate classification found oil extraction infrastructure contributed to an expected but minimal decrease in grassland and agricultural land-cover.