About the Lab

The Penn State Land Analysis Laboratory (LAL) is a research, cooperative extension, and teaching facility specializing in the use of GIS and related advanced information system technologies for environmental assessment, agriculture, and land management and planning.


The Land Analysis Laboratory (LAL) is located at 119 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building, on the North-eastern section of the Penn State University Park Campus. It is located within the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Extension Geographic Information Systems Program

A new Extension program was developed in October 1996 emphasizing education and technology transfer of geographic information system (GIS) and related technologies to clients throughout Pennsylvania. Special emphasis of the program deals with environmental and local government applications. For more information, please contact Dr. Rick L. Day at 814-863-1615 or

Program Goals

  • Development of educational and informational programs to improve the dissemination of GIS databases, analytical techniques, and related technologies throughout Pennsylvania to all levels of government and industry.
  • Coordination of and participation in GIS activities among federal, state, and local governmental units and private sector user groups to improve efficiency and quality, and minimize redundant efforts.
  • Development and distribution of new and/or enhanced GIS databases that will provide regional and/or statewide benefit.
  • Development and dissemination of standards for GIS data production, analytical procedures, and quality control methods.

Educational Objectives

Land and Environmental Assessment and Management

  • Clientele, in government and industry, will gain improved access and utility of USDA-NRCS digital soils databases for use in agricultural, environmental and land use planning applications. Individuals will be provided with training and software that will increase the efficiency with which digital soils data are processed.
  • Engineers, resource planners, managers, and consultants will improve their understanding of the availability, access, and utilization of digital GIS natural resource databases, application software, analytical methods and related technologies. Emphasis will be placed on using digital data, such as soils, terrain models, remote sensing, global positioning systems, and other spatial databases to characterize landscapes at local and regional scales. Application areas will include, but not be limited to, land use planning, environmental assessment, precision farming, hydrologic modeling, nutrient and sediment transport modeling, and land valuation.

Local Government Applications

  • County and township government officials will improve their understanding of GIS applications and implementation issues in local government. Special consideration will address implementation planning, regional coordination of GIS activities, personnel requirements, implementation costs, data distribution policies, and long-term data maintenance procedures and costs.
  • County and township government staff will gain knowledge in technical uses of GIS related to planning, assessment, emergency communications, and conservation district offices.
  • County and township government staff will improve their understanding of GIS software and databases, analytical methods, data production standards and methods, metadata standards, data maintenance procedures, and related technologies such as remote sensing and global positioning.
  • County farmland preservation program staff who participate in educational programs will learn how to use GIS to help evaluate and rank farm parcels as potential candidates for incorporation into the program. They will gain training in the use of land evaluation and site assessment GIS software interface and data requirements.


The LESA ArcView GIS Outreach Site provides information, tutorials, and a downloadable demonstration for the LESA ArcView GIS software. This site has been established as part of the GIS Outreach is an initiative of Penn State's Office of Outreach and Cooperative Extension. This outreach program teams the Land Analysis Lab with the e-Education Institute of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences to expand public access to advanced GIS applications.