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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: January 15, 2019
Rick Chormann, New Hampshire Geological Survey, (603) 271-1975,
Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, (603) 271-3136,

Stone Wall Mapping Project Uses New Technology to Honor The Past

CONCORD, NH - The New Hampshire Geological Survey (NHGS), at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), is launching a new interactive "New Hampshire Stone Wall Mapper," which will enable the public to use this web-based tool to map the state's landscape of historic stone walls. This crowd-sourcing map is made possible through a $14,487 grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The grant will help further NHGS' mission to provide the public with authoritative information on the state's landforms and to promote earth science education.

The "New Hampshire Stone Wall Mapper," is a mapping initiative that uses the availability of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) images across New Hampshire to map the state's historic stone walls, especially in areas that are completely forested today. LiDAR provides a detailed map of land surface elevations representing the "bare earth" as though treeless, rather than the aerial satellite imagery we are accustomed to. The NH Stone Wall Mapper provides a unique opportunity for the public to trace stone walls right onto LiDAR images while panning and zooming across the state on their computer screens. The mapping interface has been designed for easy use and only requires access to a web browser and the internet. UNH GRANIT developed and is hosting the crowdsourcing application.

According to Rick Chormann, NH State Geologist, the project is designed to stimulate the public's fascination with New Hampshire's legacy of stone wall building and help ensure their care and preservation. "We will fuse new technology with New Hampshire history to create a unique cultural heritage preservation asset and learning experience," said Chormann. "Over time we hope to build a network of volunteers mapping wall-to-wall across the entire state."

The project's detailed maps of stone walls will provide an inventory that will support efforts by the state and local communities to monitor and preserve these iconic symbols of our shared heritage. New Hampshire state law affords limited protection to stone walls, but the provisions are weak and enforcement is difficult. Insensitive repairs, removal or theft for resale elsewhere, road widening and new construction and more all take their toll on the state's stone walls.

"Generations of farmers and masons built thousands of miles of stone walls out of New Hampshire granite, and today those walls are vanishing," said Elizabeth H. Muzzey, director of the N.H. Division of Historical Resources and state historic preservation officer. "Identifying what remains is the important first step of preserving them for generations to come."

For links to the NH Stone Wall Mapper, as well as a companion website that details the history of stone walls and the use of LiDAR to reveal them, and guidance on how to interact on the map, please visit the Stone Wall Project webpage at You can also join the community of stone wall mappers by becoming a member of the NH Stone Wall Mapping Project Facebook group:

For more information about the project, please contact Rick Chormann, State Geologist and Director, NH Geological Survey, at (603) 271-1975 or

About the New Hampshire Geological Survey

The New Hampshire Geological Survey's (NHGS) mission is to collect data and perform research on the land, mineral, and water resources of the state, and disseminate the findings to the public through maps, reports, and other publications. NHGS provides geologic information to meet the scientific, educational and business needs of both the public and private sector. Core activities include mapping New Hampshire's bedrock and surficial geology; overseeing a statewide network of observation wells to monitor groundwater levels; assessing hazards posed by natural events such as floods, landslides and earthquakes; and maintaining statewide databases of well completion records and surface water features.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire's statewide community foundation, founded in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire. The Foundation manages a growing collection of more than 1,800 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and awards nearly $40 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving, supports great work happening in our communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit or call (603) 225-6641.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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