A few weeks ago, we made a huge release to improve the Mapline application, and we aren’t slowing down. We’ve continued to make changes to help you have faster and cleaner maps.
How GIS is Used to Map Renewable Energy Resources
Imagine taking a road trip and as you’re driving, you come across wind turbine after wind turbine. There’s dozens of them on either side of you as you’re driving past fields and farm land. Why are they there? And how was it decided that wind turbines should be placed there? Chances are GIS technology helped project planners make this decision.
With a global focus on climate change, there is a significant need for renewable energy sources like solar, wind, water, and thermal energy. As great as renewable energy is, it can’t be used everywhere.
The question is, why not?
Let’s take the state of Colorado as an example. While the state was a prime candidate for solar and wind energy, the challenge was finding specific locations that have high enough wind speeds and sun penetration. On top of that, planners had to cut out locations that weren’t close enough to large populations and distribution centers that would make the delivery of renewable energy cost effective. GIS technology helped narrow down where to build wind and solar farms.
With GIS technology and mapping, policymakers and planning commissions can more easily determine the right location for renewable energy. This is because GIS allows for deep analysis of wind potential, solar potential, distance to cities, population size, and type of land cover. GIS can even tell project planners the social and environmental impact, like if habitats or migratory patterns would be harmed from the building of a renewable energy plant in that area. All this information offers a clear picture of which locations would be best to implement renewable energy resources versus those that would be a waste of resources and money.
In Colorado’s case, planners were able to analyze wind speeds and determine that the best locations for wind farms were in the northeast part of the state. After reviewing solar radiation levels and temperature trends, they were then able to determine that east of Denver was the best spot for solar power plants.
GIS technology’s impact can also be felt on a global scale, giving policymakers and planners the ability to examine renewable energy potential across entire continents. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) used a GIS approach to make initial estimates of Africa’s renewable energy potential. In its 2014 report, IRENA reported that GIS analysis showed that eastern and northern Africa have the largest potential for solar and wind applications, while the equatorial region offers the most significant potential for biofuel resources.
GIS is playing a large role in determining where to focus renewable energy efforts and how best to manage them. This technology highlights the potential for sustainable energy resources, shows data of the actual use of that particular energy source in question, land analyses, and where planners should design renewable energy power plants.
We’ve all seen, heard about, and even felt the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria. Millions of people have lost their homes, don’t have access to electricity and water, and are in desperate need of relief efforts and emergency aid. For businesses, these natural disasters have impacted supply chain processes, transportation of goods, and the ability to restock products swiftly to keep up with demand.
Despite these challenges though, GIS technology is making it easier for companies to prepare for impending storms. For example, Home Depot’s supply chain and merchandising teams worked around-the-clock to restock stores and transport goods in preparation of Hurricane Irma. GIS technology allowed brands like Home Depot to monitor stores, ramp up and activate the best distribution centers, and determine the best routes to get supplies in and out.
But what about when a storm eventually ends and communities are left in chaos? In the aftermath of a hurricane, supply chain productivity and profitability can be significantly impacted and it’s even more challenging to plan transportation routes and deliver products to consumers. GIS technology not only helps in preparation of a storm, but also afterwards when corporations need to get back on their feet.
If you’re struggling to get your supply chain running smoothly again after any of the hurricanes, here’s how GIS helps with natural disasters:
Now that stores are opening back up again, you need to ensure your supplies are getting to where they need to be in a timely fashion. But what if your usual distribution routes are compromised from the storm? You don’t want to risk sending your drivers out on their usual routes, only to find out later they need to be rerouted and will be behind in their shipments.
GIS mapping gives you the opportunity to review all your distribution routes and see which ones have been affected by the natural disaster. You can then use your maps to determine what new routes are available that can get your products where they need to go as quickly as possible. GIS software helps you make these decisions quickly and efficiently, so you can share the plan with your distribution teams and get your customers what they need on time.
Monitor Deliveries and Shipments in Real Time
Once you’ve made decisions on your distribution routes and shared with your drivers, you can use GIS technology to track your shipments in real time. If any disruptions occur along the way, you can use GIS mapping to immediately spot the problem and find other routing options that will get your products delivered as close to on time as possible. This technology also helps you confirm that shipments are being delivered as they should be, giving you peace of mind that your route planning is working properly.
Save on Costs
You’re always looking for efficiencies to cut down on costs in your supply chain. But that’s difficult to do when a natural disaster like a hurricane strikes. In fact, the destruction caused by storms like Hurricane Irma, Jose, and Maria can hurt your company’s profitability when there are major setbacks to your wholesaler, distribution, and delivery routes. GIS technology may not be able to completely solve the problem of profitability when disaster strikes, but you can use real-time maps and data visualizations to find distributor and routing efficiencies that can help you cut down on costs.
How does your supply chain manage natural disasters? Do you have a plan in place for the next time a storm hits your network areas? Find out how Mapline’s GIS mapping software can help you prepare and avoid major supply chain setbacks.
Software Update: The Mapping Experience Made Even Easier
Faster, Intuitive User Face
For successful mapping, users need an intuitive interface that makes data visualization fast and easy. Mapline’s latest software update gives a complete face lift to the user experience, cleaning up the platform and making it easier for users to create maps and analyze their data. A live chat feature has also been added if users have questions or need help.
New and Improved Mobile Friendly Experience
Now users can create and analyze your maps all from your mobile device. Mapline’s latest update makes it fast and easy to work within the platform anywhere, anytime, so users don’t have to be tied down to their desktops.
Add Map Elements from One Drop Down
With a single “Add” dropdown button, users can incorporate datasets, territories or boundaries, custom shapes, and miscellaneous pins into their maps. This makes it faster for users to visualize their data and customize what they include in their maps.
Draw Custom Shapes Faster
When users wanted to create multiple custom shapes, they’d have to select a shape, create it, then repeat. Mapline’s update to its custom shapes feature cuts that time in half, letting users draw multiple shapes at once. Users can now also edit their shapes after drawing and add labels and names for custom organization.
Filter When and How You Want
Mapline’s Filter feature is more powerful than ever before. Users can now create filters based on multiple columns within their datasets so they can customize their views and get more specific with their data analysis.
Mapline’s latest software update includes other upgraded features for users, including:
- An easier territory styling that will be responsive when coloring boundaries based on pin data.
- An adjusted dropdown menu where the “Marker” label has been changed to “Styling”. This section allows users to edit their pins, make them a specific dot density, and upload custom images for the pins – all from a single menu.
- Reformatted styling within the platform to have the same look and feel as the Mapline website.
- Moving the “Tools” button from the left sidebar to the main header bar.
Have questions about Mapline’s software update? Contact us today for assistance!
The biggest changes are here, and they’re taking the mapping experience to a whole new level! Since it’s Mapline’s goal to exceed the expectations of our users, here are the changes that we designed and developed over the past few months to bring you the best mapping experience in the most time-efficient ways.
The first thing you’ll notice is that most of the features are now more accessible. This is because we have consolidated everything that can be added on a map into just one button. The “Add” Button menu includes adding pins, dataset pins, shapes, and boundaries. So if you are going to use these features, this is where you’ll go. What makes it even easier to use is the right click functionality for quick menu access once you’ve add them to the map.
Shapes (Including Boundaries)
One of the most prominent changes that we’ve made has to do with our custom drawn shapes. We’ve made it so much easier for you to draw polygons, polylines, circles, or rectangles on your map. They are also editable; you can name the shapes, hide them, or delete them in just a few clicks. This feature can also be found in “Add” button.
Since we’re talking about shapes, the territory boundary shapes also have their share of changes. Like custom drawn shapes, boundaries can be accessed using the “Add” button. You will notice that when you add a boundary, you can now edit individual territory areas inside the boundary. For example, when you add a U.S. State boundary, you can choose to edit an individual state (California, New York, etc) like changing the boundary color, hiding or deleting them, or renaming them. What makes adding boundaries even better is the added option to change the fill color of the boundary without having to add a new boundary. Plus, if you’re coloring the boundaries based on a column from your dataset, the coloring will now be responsive. So the days of having to manually update your boundaries when your dataset updates are long gone!
Want to add pins directly on your map? With these changes comes the option of adding pins on your map at the click of a mouse! It’s that easy! Just click your mouse wherever you want to drop your added pins.
Changing the way your map pin looks like is now more exciting with the Styling option. The “Styling” tab allows you to change the color, shape, stamp, and size of your pins. You can add custom images as your map pin.
This is also the tab to click when you want to cluster your pins or create a dot density map.
Filtering the pins is now made more powerful. Your map pins can now be filtered with different criteria. The Filter Option allows you to choose a category to filter. Not only that, it now allows you to choose the criteria (equals, does not equal, contain, does not contain), add calculation, and use the AND and OR functionalities.
Here’s how it works: For example, you only want to see the map pins that are essentially: belong to a specific sales representative. Or you want to see only the map pins (locations) with $500K in sales (regardless of sales rep). Now, you can show both at the same time!
We have also moved and upgraded a few more things. Here are some other changes:
- The “Tools” Menu is now located on the top right corner of the screen.
- The “Tools” Menu includes the Excel Add-in and Distance Calculator.
- If you want to export a map, click “Save Image As.”
- The “Menu” button is now called “Options.”
- The zoom buttons can now be found on the right side of the map.
- Looking for “Sublayers”? Click “Segments” and you will notice improved functionalities.
Since Mapline is on par with the growing demands of technology, especially when it comes to using mobile internet, we want to make sure that Mapline is mobile-friendly. Along with the changes that we’ve made, you will quickly notice that adding datasets, drawing shapes, and editing data, are just some of the things that you can do on your mobile device. And we’re not just talking about doing these things easily. You can also do them fast!
Ask us and we’re always available to help you when needed. Our Live Chat provides instant help as you build your map. It is located under the “Help” tab.