Saturday, December 18, 2010

A look at three mapping options to check on renewable energy development in your area or just to have fun with your computer!

Folks, here are 3 options that you can use at home to follow up on proposed energy
projects in your area- one, the Solar PEIS, however, is only for the 6 western states
that it covers which includes California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and I believe
Colorado. I will include links and how to obtain these mapping options at the end of the post
so if you are the impatient sort, scroll down and get started in your area.

These are some of the options that are available to the intervenors, energy types, government and bureaucrats, as well as environmentalists, carbonmentalists, and other
interested parties such as bloggers and regular folks concerned about their area. Now after
looking at that last sentence, allow me to say that I am sorry for putting the average citizen
last. They should have been first, after all it is their land and environment at risk here.

The areas in question are so huge, so spacious, that it is hard to know where to start so let’s
look at an area this blogger has visited this year, one that is smack dab in the middle of
proposed energy development, and is one of the 4 solar zones set up under the new plan-
Pisgah, California. After refreshing my memory, I chose this exact area as it is the turnoff
that led to where I made a trip report for Tessera Solar’s Calico Solar project.

First the Google Earth view:
ScreenHunter_02 Dec. 18 08.56

As you can see just type Pisgah, California in the search box and after it comes up just look until you find a landmark you recognize. In this case I knew the odd shaped 2 bridges crossing a road with no on or off ramp. Bingo! And here is where I parked my car and hiked that day:
ScreenHunter_04 Dec. 18 10.37

The above is a bonus, I will include the link to that trip report as well.

For your information, these are being shown from least to most valuable currently as
regards renewable energy development, in my opinion. Next up will be the new map
generated by the new SolarMapper website:
ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 18 08.43

The above map really only shows the new solar zone boundary recently established but new features are coming. My guess and fervent wish will be that tools similar to the BLM
GeoCommunicator will be added, next up is an interactive map of the same area from the
BLM site, showing my layers being added on, I have adjusted the opacity to show details:
ScreenHunter_03 Dec. 18 09.04

This mapping site as it exists currently provides the most detail and is the most interactive
with as you can see, many ways to tweak the map plus you can save a pdf file for printing
out later. Also the last map includes layering wind, geothermal, oil and gas, cattle ranching,
etc into the map, a one stop shop so to speak.

Did I mention that the above mapping options are totally free for your use? The
price is right, that’s for sure.

This post today is not intended as a primer, just to make you aware of what may be
coming your way. If you have specific questions, feel free to email them to me, if
I can’t answer them maybe another reader can.

Here are those links that I promised:

Solar Energy Environmental Mapper

Google Earth home

Geo Communicator homepage

My Calico site trip report,pt#1

My Calico site visit, pt#2

There you have it folks, just 3 extra tools for your toolbox. Even if you don’t live near proposed energy development, Google Earth and the BLM GeoCommunicator are fun to play
around with. You can amaze your friends and family with your new found knowledge!

One other thing. I am using Mozilla Firefox, the latest version, and these work well with
that browser. I did notice that my new Internet Explorer beta 9 version had difficulties with

There have been recent political and judicial events affecting California’s desert region, I will
be posting in a day or so about those developments as well. Below is a page where you can find some information about the new solar plan(I just downloaded about 3,000 pages myself):

government information site for the new PEIS

Have fun with the information presented here today and I encourage you to play around
with the interactive maps. With Google Earth you might even fly over to the Yosemite Valley
of California where this blog scooped the world with the government plan to install renewable
energy smack dab in the middle of it! Angel


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