An Interactive Web Mapping Application for Alternative and Renewable Energies in North Carolina

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Master of Natural Resources Professional Papers (North Carolina State University. College of Natural Resources)

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North Carolina State University. College of Natural Resources


Abstract Knight, Jessica. Masters of Natural Resources – GIS Technical Option Biomass is coming to the forefront of renewable energies, especially in the state of North Carolina. The Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard that was passed in 2007 sparked an interest in the state in this sector, along with increased pellet demands in Europe and a desire for clean and “home grown” fuels. Companies are seeking to build their businesses in North Carolina and want to know just what the state has to offer them. In a world of technology, everyone is looking for a way to solve problems quicker and easier, even in the renewable energy sector. There are several web mapping applications that are in use or are being developed that make use of spatial information relating to renewable energies and resources. Some of these applications are just used for basic data viewing, and others carry out basic analysis functions. This interactive web application, or IMS, makes use of several spatial data layers, an algorithm, and a python script to create a map that is then put onto the web utilizing the ArcServer 10 environment. Several biomass-based commodities are utilized in the IMS: hardwoods, softwoods, cultivated crops, and hay. The IMS has a custom analysis tool that allows a user to enter two commodities of interest, the percentage of each commodity is required, and a distance in miles. The result of the analysis is a raster map displaying the total amount of the commodities, based on the requirements input by the user, throughout the analysis area. White areas of the map are desirable, as they are areas with high levels of the commodity and black areas are less desirable areas. This tool will be used as a way to get prospective companies interested in the state of North Carolina and involve them in the analysis process. Currently, this application is not available to the public, but it will continue to be improved upon and more tools will be added. The user interface will be made more userfriendly, with more than two commodities able to be selected, with all but one being optional. Costs will also be added to the analysis tools to create more real-world analysis scenarios. After improvements are made, this application will be made public for prospective companies to make use of and explore the state for biomass-based renewable energy generation.



alternative energy, renewable energy, interactive web mapping