Visualizing the U.S. Electric Grid

nprlogo_138x46…from NPR

“The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation’s electrical systems.”


Map layers include the U.S. electric grid, sources of power, power plants, solar power, and wind power.

A Global Map of Human Impacts to Marine Ecosystems

“What happens in the vast stretches of the world’s oceans – both wondrous and worrisome – has too often been out of sight, out of mind.


“The sea represents the last major scientific frontier on planet earth – a place where expeditions continue to discover not only new species, but even new phyla. The role of these species in the ecosystem, where they sit in the tree of life, and how they respond to environmental changes really do constitute mysteries of the deep. Despite technological advances that now allow people to access, exploit or affect nearly all parts of the ocean, we still understand very little of the ocean’s biodiversity and how it is changing under our influence.

“The goal of the research presented here is to estimate and visualize, for the first time, the global impact humans are having on the ocean’s ecosystems.”

Free Data Set: Carbon and Nitrogen Response to Elevated CO2 in Terrestrial Systems

“We compiled data from 104 published papers that study C and N dynamics at ambient and elevated CO2. The compiled database contains C contents, N contents, and C:N ratio in various plant and soil pools, and root:shoot ratio. Averaged C and N pool sizes in plant and soil all significantly increase at elevated CO2 in comparison to those at ambient CO2; ranging from a 5% increase in shoot N content to a 32% increase in root C content. Parts of this data set are copyrighted by the Ecological Society of America. Luo, Yiqi, Dafeng Hui, and Deqiang Zhang. 2006. Elevated CO2 stimulates net accumulations of carbon and nitrogen in land ecosystems: a meta-analysis. Ecology 87:53-63. Ecological Archives E087-001.”

Quote of the Day

“The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”

–Mark Weiser, 1991

Map of the Day: Downtown San Diego—2030 Commute Cost Analysis

…from the ESRI Map Book, Volume 24


“These maps display the forecasted cost of a morning trip to downtown San Diego. The first three panels display costs for three modes: single occupant auto, high occupancy auto, and walk-access transit. Auto trip cost is calculated by using forecasted trip length and trip time data from the transportation model multiplied by cost factors for auto maintenance, tire degradation, fuel consumption, toll road use, and value of time.

“A fixed fee for parking is also added to all trips ending in the central business district which included a carpool incentive discount for high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) trips. Free use of planned managed lane facilities, along with trip time savings from use of dedicated HOV facilities, gives carpools an added cost savings over single auto travel. Transit trip cost is calculated by using forecasted transit trip length and trip time data (including access and transfers) from the transportation model which is multiplied by cost factors for transit fare and value of time.

“The fourth panel shows transit value areas by comparing the cost of single occupant auto travel to transit. The green areas shown on this map are neighborhoods in the San Diego region where the total cost of using transit is 15 percent less than driving solo in an automobile. Eighteen cities and the county government comprise SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments, which serves as a forum for regional decision making.

“Courtesy of Joaquin Ortega, San Diego Association of Governments.”