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Q: How can cartography/GIS impact energy conservation?

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#1
benbakelaar

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OK, time to stir the armchair philosophers from their slumber. Here is another mostly doom and gloom article on Wired. http://blog.wired.co...ge-of-oil-.html. But it's basically just talking about an IEA report that says, more or less, energy needs are only increasing, and the only way to ameliorate it is a multi-pronged approach which includes a heavy dose of energy conservation.

I am interested to hear any ideas on how cartography, mapping, GIS, and/or web mapping can contribute to any of the multitude of solutions available? Is there any clear way? Or does it really have little to do with maps? For instance, energy metering, already popular in England (and maybe Europe) is eventually going to come to the US - this has nothing to do with maps, but is probably one of the higher-impact solutions, basically to provide people with enough information to make informed choices. Can maps do the same thing? What about maps or websites that show how far your food has traveled, so you can consciously choose to purchase things that had a lower energy cost? But then, what about the fact that certain foods grown in certain climates have a higher energy cost?

Anyway, I know I'm already straying from my original question, so just refer back to that. As we all probably know, our very own Datonn has come up with an innovative and simple solution: graphics optimization, which I would say is a fairly "cartographic solution".

#2
MapMedia

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Ah, how quickly Wired changed its tune on the environment and consumption.

If you want to make a difference, or a measured amount more than you feel you are now making, I suggest finding projects, pay or pro-bono, for conservation programs.
There is a tremendous need for knowledgeable application of GIS in the fields of conservation, energy, public policy, research, etc.

#3
benbakelaar

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I wasn't asking for me particularly, I'm involved in plenty of projects already :) I just wanted to get a general conversation going, there's so many technical posts lately and I miss the philosophizing :)

#4
Charlie Frye

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Taking Chris's point (which I agree strongly with) in larger context. For the past several years I've donated several hundred hours of GIS and cartography work to my local conservancy and to conservation oriented political candidates (making walking maps and analyzing voter databases). Getting those people in office would begin to make a difference. Because of that I think a lot more people, locally, are much more aware of and involved in local conservation activities. I'm just adding what I know how to do to the mix. It's a win-win too; I get to work on some very interesting issues, all of which go into my reservoir of experience.

I got my education at a land-grant institution (Kansas State) and one of the bits they instill is that as a professional whose education was largely subsidized by taxpayers (93% in my case) you have an obligation to give back.
Charlie Frye
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ESRI, Redlands, California

#5
BioGeoMan

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I know that many cartographers out there, especially freelance people, feel that they need to consistently work on paid projects in order to pay the bills. This is true, but I would argue that making map products for non-profit or conservation groups can invite a host of advantages to the cartographer. (1) non-profits are usually working on progressive issues that for-profit companies won't touch because the ideas or movements are not profitable, thus the cartographer can spice up their portfolio a bit, (2) you can support your LOCAL community by doing work for an organization in your town, instead of national or regional businesses, (3) You can pick who you would like to work for instead of vice-versa (4) you may also pick up future business by providing pro-bono work, (5) you can use the work as a charitable donation for tax relief purposes (6) the work will make you feel a squishy and warm inside :P .

Michael Scisco

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biogeocreations.com


#6
danielle

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I am looking forward to this Ecovisualization exhibit in NYC:

http://www.eyebeam.o...php?page=ecovis

Participants will be asking the same kinds of questions as Ben.

#7
Polaris

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I don't want to diverge too much from the topic here, but just add that for all the reasons mentioned, and surely more - volunteer projects have certainly been very important in my life as a cartographer and as a human being. I've got several such going on now, and am always looking. It can be tough sometimes though to make it work. You'd think all these orgs would need map/GIS help - and they do - but getting some of them engaged - even when offering free help, can be a challenge. It might be fun to start a thread sharing volunteer experiences - any takers?

...more generally (and perhaps trivially) speaking on the philosophical question.... To the extent that a map (or other data graphic) can help people better understand and communicate about energy conservation (and many other) issues in their communities, it will have an impact. I'm sure many of us believe that 'just the right map' in just the right time and place, could have a huge impact - we must be ever vigilant and keep our magic map wands at the ready! What is the right spell though? maporium cartosis maybe?

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#8
CHART

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Maybe I am also running of the topic but I like to take my bike or walk to do map reconnaissance or GPS data capturing... This is my way of making 'green' maps. Not sure if NavTeq or TeleAtlas do the same...

Cheers,
Chart

#9
gregory

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I got impression that all sugestion in this discusion focus on how to make people be more awake about energy conservation. In my opinion is just a partly solution giving people more information, maybe some ideas how to... but not exact solutions (cartography). True solutions which can be used not only by a man but more by companies or any human comunities and which brings optimalization is GIS. My master thesis is a case study about fleet optimalization of a bakery (vehicle routing problem). The tool used to solve that problem was Network Analyst 9.2. Just enough to say it let to shorted cut all the daily routes from about 3500km to 2700km. The bigest satisfaction wasn't about the owner's valet,or my job, it was about environment protection.

[saved_km]* [number_of_companies_needed_to_be_optimized] = think green ;)

regards
Gregory




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