Visualizing Patterns of Geothermal Research

Placement: Finalist

Team Name: UMD MSGIS

Team Members: Cyrus Chimento, Elizabeth Read

School/Organization: University of Maryland – College Park

The goal of our project is to grow understanding of geothermal energy resources in the United States by using GIS to optimize access to information in the Geothermal Data Repository (GDR). We improve access to submissions to the GDR by visualizing their location and giving the viewer context. We make submissions easy to filter — by time, public availability, and major geothermal resource categories — optimizing a user’s ability to find the information they are looking for. And we analyze spatial patterns of research submissions against other important data, like enhanced geothermal potential and the existence of current or developing geothermal stations, to find locations where the value of new research might be highest. By using GIS to visualize this information for the GDR user, we created a tool to quickly synthesize existing information geographically and target new research and exploration efforts where their impact will be high. Our project consists of a custom-built landing page, explaining the thinking behind our project, project goals, and a link to our online mapping app, custom built using the ArcGIS API for Javascript. The primary data source in our project is the GDR submission metadata, obtained from Jon Weers, who works on the GDR. We also used data sources from NREL: EGS potential, operating, and developing geothermal plants. Beyond playing with the filter options, clustering, and layer toggles in our map, we encourage you to poke through individual data points, EGS potential polygons, and research potential hexes. Selecting any single data point in our map pops up a dialogue box that will help you explore further. This map helps us identify the “known knowns” about geothermal energy resources in the U.S. By looking at holes in this information, it also helps us see the “known unknowns.” Targeting research, exploration and funding to these areas is the fastest way to a more complete understanding of our nation’s geothermal energy resources.

View the project here.