Academic Publications
Open Source Paper: Analysis of Interactive Solar Energy Web Maps for Urban Energy Sustainability

Authors: Carolyn S. Fish, The Pennsylvania State University | fish@psu.edu and Kirby Calvert, University of Guelph | calvertk@uoguelph.ca

Overview: Maps and geographic information systems (GIS) have become vital tools for decision-making, communication, and outreach in the domain of urban energy sustainability.One emerging variety is interactive online maps that allow users to assess rooftop solar energy potential on a building of interest. This paper analyzes existing online solar energy mapping tools, through the lens of cartographic principles. Through our analysis we develop a set of best practices that can be used to improve the effectiveness and widen the functionality of online solar energy maps. In particular, we make recommendations on how to develop future online interactive renewable energy maps in a way that keeps the end-user in mind while communicating relevant information to a broader range of stakeholders involved in urban energy sustainability (homeowners, utility operators, city officials, and urban planners).

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