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Forest Economics and Policy Research Unit

Locations of Southern Wood Chip Mills for 2000

Jeff Prestemon, John Pye, David Butry, and Dan Stratton

map showing locations of southern U.S. wood chip mills in 2000

PURPOSE: These data were assembled as part of the Southern Forest Resource Assessment and in conjunction with studies to define hardwood timber markets in the Southern Appalachians and elsewhere in the South. Related information include:

This page will focus on just the 2000 wood chip mill data.

SOURCE and SCOPE: This dataset of wood chip mills is based on information from the July/August issue of Timber Processing magazine and verified for the calendar year 2000 by the Forest Inventory and Analysis unit (FIA) of the Southern Research Station in Asheville, NC. The FIA unit obtains information from the various State Forestry organizations on mills to support periodic estimates of wood processing activity. Included in these data are the 113 stand-alone wood chip mills, 32 wood chip mills tied to a pulp mill, and one wood chip mill associated with a sawmill. Each of these three subtypes is identified in the data provided here. We used a geocoding service provided by Etak, Inc., now Tele Atlas N.A., to estimate the latitude and longitude for each mill plus identify from this the county and Census tract and block identifier corresponding to that location. Note that many addresses referred to Post Office Box numbers. If the geocoding service could not identify an actual street address, it provided a location based on the zipcode. Therefore, some points in the coverage can be shared by multiple mills.

The locations of chip mills are provided in several formats, all unprojected ("geographic projection"): ArcInfo (uncompressed) Export and ArcView Shape files.

So what if I don't have ArcView or ArcInfo? Most GIS programs have the ability to import these formats, but GIS programs are expensive. The publisher of ArcView and ArcInfo offers a free downloadable program called ArcExplorer for viewing and analyzing files with these formats. The chipmill.dbf file available below can be read by virtually all spreadsheet and database programs but this format provides limited support for spatial analysis and mapping.

RECORDS and VARIABLES: The ArcInfo coverage (chipm00.e00) contains minimal information on each wood chip mill, represented as points. More detailed information on each mill is available in the dBase IV file "chipm00.dbf." Each record in a coverage corresponds to one wood chip mill. Record numbers created for each mill ("mill-id") uniquely identify the mill and match the mill-id variable in the dBase file. The included location data represents information on 146 mills from the states of the U.S. that are part of the Southern Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service. Errors can arise from different sources including errors in mailing addresses and in geocoding. While we've tried to minimize our own procedural errors, there may be a few errors still remaining in some of the records, over and above the imprecisions inherent in geocoding in general and on accepting Post Office Box addresses in particular.

ArcView shapefiles begin with several GIS-standard variables describing shape, perimeter, and internal record ID, but these are of limited use in this case. More generally useful are the remaining variables in the shapefiles, and the corresponding fields in the dBase table. Each mill has one row of data, and each row in the dBase file contains fifteen variables (text and numerical). The tabular data can be joined to any of the coverages using the mill-id. Indeed, the shapefiles were generated by joining the dBase file to the ArcInfo point coverage. In order, the variables in the table and shapefiles are:

Mill-id Assigned by J. Prestemon, this identifies a unique mill with a number that will never be repeated. However, numbers are repeated from the southern wood chip mills identified in 1998 if the chip mill facility was the same. Some of those mills changed ownership or names but retained the same mill-id.

Lon, Lat This is our best estimate of the mill longitude and latitude, respectively. All of the mills were located to the county level (hence have FIPS codes--see below). Latitude and longitudes of two of the mills are not reported, and so they are not in the coverage. Coordinates of other mills were obtained by submitting mill address information to Etak, Inc., on March 30, 2001. Finally, the exception to the Etak results was for the North Central Station’s mills.

Region_ID Identifier of who supplied the mill address data. In these data, all records were supplied by the Southern Region and have Region_ID equal to 2.

Name Name of the forest products business.

Type_New Kind of mill, recategorizations based on identifiers provided by the four regions. Seven types are possible, but this data set is limited to one type (Chipmill):

Sawmill: hardwood and softwood sawmills, pallet mills
Composite: particle board mills, chip mills, OSB, MDF, other composite board mills
PlyVen: hardwood and softwood veneer and plywood mills
PostPole: post, pole, and piling mills
Pulpmill: pulpmills
Chipmill: wood chip mills
Other: firewood, bark products (Texas only), charcoal, and a few other miscellaneous kinds of wood-using facilities

Town The town corresponding to the mailing address of the physical location of the mill

State The state corresponding to the mailing address of the physical location of the mill

MAT_ZIP The zipcode corresponding to the mailing address of the physical location of the mill

MAT_TYPE Codes include:

Code Type Description
0 Non-match Address could not be matched to any database.
1 Block Face Street segment exact address match.
2 Near match Address matched to a single street segment but the exact address number was not found.
3 Zip+2 Centroid A point representing the aggregate of all geocoded ZIP+4's for the ZIP+2 of the input address.
4 5-Digit ZIP Centroid A point representing the aggregate of all geocoded ZIP+4's for the 5-digit ZIP of the input address.
5 3-Digit ZIP (SCF) Centroid A point representing the aggregate of all geocoded ZIP+4's for the 3-digit ZIP of the input address.
6 Ambiguous match Address matched to more than one street segment, a centroid of all segments is returned.

Note: The Zip 7, Zip 5, and Zip 3 Centroid is the geographic center of zip codes that share the first three, five, or (in the case of the four-digit zip code extension) seven digits.

Match 0 (nonmatch) do not have latitude and longitudes, except for some cases in the North Central Station states. Match 1 (exact match) is likely to contain precise coordinates, within a city block or so of distance from the exact location. Successively higher numbers indicate less and less precise geographic coordinates. In only 19 cases were matches as poor as code 5. In only 6 cases were Match 6’s encountered, and for even these Etak produced coordinates.

FIPS_Code The format of this code is SSCCC, where SS refers to the state FIPS code and CCC refers to the county FIPS code.

CEN_TRACT This is the census tract code provided by Etak, Inc., when the mill address was geocoded. The code begins with a two-character state abbreviation and is followed by:

a three-digit county FIPS code,
a four-digit census tract code (for which many detailed census data are available)
a two-digit street segment code, which further refines the census tract (combined with the four-digit tract code, the two-digit segment code provides the finest level of disaggregation of U.S. census data)

Street The mailing street or P.O. Box or rural route of the physical location of the mill.

Precise_Type The reporting agency’s classifier of the mill. In the case of wood chip mills, there are three precise types:

FIA Survey Year The year that the mill address information was recorded. In this data set, all data were collected in 2000.

Start_Year The year in which the chip mill began operations in the identified location. This datum is missing for twenty mills.

Species The content of wood processed: hardwood (angiosperms)=h or softwood (conifers)=s. This datum is missing for three mills.

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modified: 15-FEB-2007
created by: John M. Pye
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