Planet Geospatial

Between the PolesNew patent appeals process invalidates mapping patent

Google map plus streetviewAccording to Gigaom in 2012 a Florida-based patent troll sued both Apple and Google because they included a view of street level images next to or inserted in a map in their products.  The troll had filed patents on this type of combined imagery (see image for an example) in 2003.   Apple and Google joined forces to challenge the troll based on "prior art" using a new Patent Office appeals system.  The system is known as inter partes review.  Inter partes review is a new trial proceeding conducted at the Board to review the patentability of a claim in a patent based only on  prior art consisting of patents or printed publications. It came into effect in 2013 through the America Invents Act of 2012. It allows third parties to challenge patents before administrative patent judges.  Last week the appeals board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled  that all 27 claims contained in the troll’s patent are invalid.

LiDAR NewsASPRS Establishes UAS Test Course

The course will be established at the Reno Stead airport, an FAA-designated UAS test site. Continue reading →

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ACuriousAnimalReleasing code samples for The Book of OpenLayers 3

Writing a book is hard, requires constance and motivation and, more important, be strong to keep them both. Least but not last you need time. Time to see the source code and learn. Time to see the examples and learn. Time to understand all the concepts and learn. Time to explain in your words what you have learnt.

Today, I announced the links where you can find the online samples and code repository for The book of OpenLayers3. Code repository is open, so don’t hesitate to download and contribute with new samples.

The work is not complete, I need to finish the theory part of a chapter related to vector information and write two more chapters I have in mind and, of course, create some samples to see the theory in practice. I will write another post introducing the book with a more in depth chapter description. This post is only about the code samples. Your feedback is really valuable for me !!!

The book of OpenLayers3

About the code samples

For those interested in contribute, the project for the code samples is built using the Yeoman tool, which combines Grunt and Bower, and the generator for web application generator-webapp, which offers a project skeleton with a bunch of good practices.

In addition to the default plugins used by the generator, I made use of the Grunt’s plugin grunt-includes (see here) that implement like PHP include directive. This way, I can create a page layout (with headers, footers, etc) reusable for all the pages. See the package.json file for more details about plugins.

For the implementation I made use of the Bootstrap framework, the nice Yeti theme from Bootswatch project and the highlight.js project to highlight the samples code. See more details of project dependencies in the bower.json file.

Related Posts:

Directions MagazineASPRS Establishes the First UAS Mapping Calibration Test Course

EcostudiesUpdate of Zim-wiki export template for an adaptive website

A short note that I updated my export template for a adaptive website to work with Zim 0.61. You can find it on my github page. It is very much work in progress, but perhaps it will be useful to somebody. Examples of websites that were created using this template are, and under: […]

ROK Technologies BlogArcGIS Solutions for Non-Profits

I wanted to reflect today on the outstanding efforts of non-profit organizations all around us. From healthcare to environmental stewardship, it’s amazing how much hard work is getting done out there via research, grant-writing, projects and public outreach.

If we focus on research, we should note that a lot of the value of information these days comes by way of spatial data--meaning, tagging every bit of detail to a specific location. Thank goodness for GIS, right?

Of course! Especially when there is powerful software (like Esri’s ArcGIS for Desktop) that is also accessible at reasonable prices for hard-working non-profit organizations that can show how much of an impact visualizing data could make on their end goals.

For more information on the application process, check out Esri’s direct link:

And, once you are up and running with ArcGIS? Well, that’s when you contact us at ROK. We’ll be glad to set you up on the Cloud (where you can automatically elevate your GIS into Enterprise mode), host your GIS data, offer GIS best-practices advice, and develop any custom web/mobile mapping solutions that you may have been dreaming of all this time.

Happy mapping,


MapDotNet BlogMapDotNet UX 9.3 Released and Available for Download

Download the latest here: 

  • Improved label rendering and multi-line labels
  • Added “sum” to feature service
  • Support in Silverlight/WPF advanced drawing to modify history stack
  • Multiple enhancements to the mapsjs HTML5 map control library (see for details)
  • MapDotNet UX Services no longer support express-model

Directions MagazineGeoDecisions’ Brian J. Smith in the Spotlight at Esri International User Conference

Directions MagazineMaryland offers property maps through Open Data Initiative

LiDAR NewsLaser Scan From Multirotor Platform

This may be one of the first scans from a from a multicopters drone. Continue reading →

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Directions MagazineThe OGC approves best practice for RESTful encoding of OGC Sensor Planning Service for Earth Observation Satellite Tasking

Directions MagazineGPS Insight Ranked on the 2014 Inc. 5000 for the Fifth Consecutive Year

Directions MagazineZumigo Raises $6M to Expand Secure Payments and eCommerce With Mobile Device Location and Identity Verification

All Points BlogGIS Health News Weekly: Australia and the Flu, GIving Blood, C-Sections in Washington State

Using 3D to Track Flu Speaking from her base in California, Ms [Lauren] Bennett [Spatial Analysis Product Engineer] said advancements in mapping technology could provide unprecedented insights into how influenza and other disease outbreaks spread in Australia and who is most at... Continue reading

mousebird consultingWhirlyGlobe-Maply 2.3

I'm pleased to announce the official release of WhirlyGlobe-Maply 2.3.

Yup, it can do both of those.

The big new feature for 2.3 is maps.  Vector maps.

Where to Get WhirlyGlobe-Maply 2.3

Over at github is the canonical place.  The master branch is now on 2.3.  Compiling from source is a bit slow, but then you've got the source.  Be sure to read the README.  Seriously, read it.

You can also download the binary distribution right there.  Less to set up, faster to compile, but there's a lingering sense that you're not cool.  I don't judge.


You can browse the reference documentation right here.

It needs more.... more.  I have a Getting Started guide under development and a rework of the WhirlyGlobe-Maply site to go along with it.  When that's done I'll make more noise about the launch.

Next Up

A few months ago I'd planned to segue into WhirlyGlobe-Maply 3.0, which is the Android/iOS version.  Instead, clients have been paying me to add some big new iOS features.  Damn you paying clients!  So we get at least one more 2.x version.

The develop branch is moving to WhirlyGlobe-Maply 2.4.  I'd stick with the master branch for now.

Azavea AtlasSummer of Maps: Raster Versus Vector Visualization

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Summer of Maps 2014

Inline image 1

Now in its third year, Azavea’s Summer of Maps Program has become an important resource for non-profits and student GIS analysts alike.  Non-profits receive pro bono spatial analysis work that can enhance their business decision-making processes and programmatic activities, while students benefit from Azavea mentors’ experience and expertise.   This year, three fellows worked on projects for six organizations that spanned a variety of topics and geographic regions.  This blog series documents some of their accomplishments and challenges during their fellowship.  Our 2014 sponsors, GoogleEsri and PennDesign helped make this program possible.  For more information about the program, please fill out the form on the Summer of Maps page.


Raster Versus Vector Visualization

As a Summer of Maps fellow I worked with two non-profit organizations: Girlstart in Austin, Texas which empowers girls with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and City Harvest in New York City which rescues food all over the city and distributes it to hunger programs. Both wanted to identify areas that are in the most need of their services. Girlstart also wanted to determine areas for fundraising.

One of the tasks for both of my projects was to create composite layers built from different, but related, variables. For example, I made a layer of relative wealth for Austin’s Girlstart that took into account: median home value, educational attainment, and median household income. Since this data was at the census tract level I was working with vector data but actually converted to raster because I thought a surface of wealth would be both intuitive and pleasing to the eye. A couple examples of well-known raster maps are Yelp heat maps or weather maps. I was striving for a similar look and feel.


Yelp Philly HipstersThe Weather Channel Current Temperatures



→ What’s vector?Vector Raster

“a representation of the world using points, lines, and polygons. Vector models are useful for storing data that has discrete boundaries, such as country borders, land parcels, and streets” (ESRI GIS Dictionary).

→ What’s raster?

“a representation of the world as a surface divided into a regular grid of cells. Raster models are useful for storing data that varies continuously, as in an aerial photograph, a satellite image, a surface of chemical concentrations, or an elevation surface” (ESRI GIS Dictionary).





This is the visualization of wealth in raster format.


It definitely wasn’t quite as beautiful as I had hoped, nor quite as meaningful. I thought it would provide a nice smooth surface across Central Texas and show more detail by being a stretched gradient.  Instead it just looks like really fuzzy tract boundaries. This is because my data attributes were not continuous. They are polygons and quite large polygons at that. When rasterized, the values in the cells are all the same within each polygon which doesn’t signify much. The process of rasterizing did not add any additional information or aesthetics. The vector format below is the better choice. It looks neat and is appropriately symbolized by a color gradient. The tract boundaries are distinct and the wealth ranking is distinguished across the features.


Wealth 2

This is the visualization of wealth in vector format.


Recall that I created composite layers for both of my projects. For City Harvest I made a combined layer of vulnerability based on the percent of people living below the poverty threshold and the percent of people receiving SNAP benefits. It was a very similar task and used census data at the census tract level again. When I made a density raster, however, this is what happened.


Density Raster

The raster looks significantly different, and better, than the Girlstart raster. It is successful because this surface conveys information in a different and effective way.  That is, a more continuous surface shows the patterns in a smooth fashion. The data is from census tracts just like with Girlstart, but the actual size of the polygons in New York are much smaller than those in Austin.  That translates to more ‘pieces’ (and more data) to visualize.


Scale and size played a major role in whether to use raster or vector for me, but there are a couple other criteria to consider. While both my datasets were in vector to start, one should recognize how data is originally formatted as a good hint as to what may be appropriate. This has a lot to do with context. Just as the definitions referenced, certain topics lend themselves to one or the other. My starting demographic topics make a lot of sense as vector because census information is gathered from people who live in places that are normally categorized into geographic regions like counties and states. Other subjects like environmental monitoring are often rasters because, much like the real world, the earth is a continuous surface. Of course these are simply general guidelines. It’s all about how you perceive the data and want to visualize it. That last part is key. My first Girlstart raster simply didn’t look right because the unit of analysis (census tracts) was too large to visualize complex variation in the data.


Through my experience I’ve determined four recommendations that are good starting points to consider when contemplating between raster and vector.

  • Scale and size of features
  • Original formatting
  • Context
  • Aesthetics

It's All About DataHow to Create Powerful ArcGIS Online Workflows (Infographic)

ArcGIS Online is Esri’s web-based mapping platform that lets you instantly create and share spatial information. Below are a few ways to do even more with this powerful service, including sophisticated data integration, workflow automation, and real-time updates.

Green Badge - v1.1 Click the videos in the image to see demos, or view the resources at the bottom of this post.



Demo: Bringing CAD data into ArcGIS Demo: Reading AGOL data in real time Demo: Updating AGOL data in real time Demo: Applying an AGOL basemap in the FME Data Inspector Demo: Leveraging AGOL services Video: BNSF Railway Video: Iowa DOT Blog: Iowa DOT Resource: ArcGIS Online at the FME UC

Demo: Bringing CAD data into ArcGIS
Demo: Reading AGOL data in real time
Demo: Updating AGOL data in real time
Demo: Applying an AGOL basemap in the FME Data Inspector
Demo: Leveraging AGOL services
Video: BNSF Railway
Video: Iowa DOT
Blog: Iowa DOT
Videos and slides: ArcGIS Online at the FME UC

The post How to Create Powerful ArcGIS Online Workflows (Infographic) appeared first on Safe Software Blog.

GIS LoungeBinning in GIS

In GIS it is often sometimes hard to present point-based data because at times there are several different points and data symbologies that need to be shown. As the number of different data points grows they can become complicated to interpret and manage, resulting in convoluted and sometimes inaccurate maps. In order to reduce map congestion many GIS users use a process called binning. Binning is defined as the process of grouping pairs of locations based on their distance from one another.

The post Binning in GIS appeared first on GIS Lounge.

Directions MagazineAccenture Interactive Predicts 69 Percent of Consumers Will Own an In-Home IoT Device by 2019

Directions MagazineAccenture Interactive Predicts 69 Percent of Consumers Will Own an In-Home IoT Device by 2019

AnyGeoDrone Mapping and Selecting Your First UAS … err … UAV… err… drone… err

TweetAh yes, to drone or not to drone… Selecting one’s first drone errr UAV errr UAS can be a little daunting. Do you purchase from a local dealer who can guide and advise you and also hook you up with … Continue reading

Directions MagazineKEYW Unveils Aeroptic Aerial Mapping System at National Guard Conference

Directions MagazineJodi Hanson Bond to Keynote Geospatial & Engineering International Conference

Directions MagazineUniversity of Illinois Announces Seventeen new CyberGIS Fellows to Promote cyberGIS Education

All Points BlogGIS Education News Weekly: Census Quiz App, GeoHumanities at Penn State, ConnectED

Census Mobile Quiz: Statistical Literacy of U.S. Population The U.S. Census Bureau today released Census PoP Quiz, a new interactive mobile application that challenges users' knowledge of demographic facts for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The new app, which draws... Continue reading

All Points BlogUpdated Pace GIS MOOC Teaches ArcGIS Desktop

An updated version of the GIS Basics MOOC (enroll) offered by Pace Uneiversity professor Peggy Minnis will start on September 1. The new version titled Desktop GIS (syllabus) will again focus on ArcGIS Desktop 10.2 but the course is now structured around three units across its 12... Continue reading

My Corner of the WebRailsBridge Phoenix

OK, everybody, it is time for us to give back to the Ruby/Rails community that has made many of us a enjoyable and profitable life….

We at Socialwhirled have decided to sponsor and host a RailsBridge event in Phoenix ( the 19th and 20th of September.

From their site:

We teach people to code because we believe that the people making technology should accurately reflect the diversity of those using it.

We want to push for all kinds of diversity in tech: gender, race, sexual orientation, ability, and class. Women were the first population we focused on, but aren’t the last.

We value acceptance, enthusiasm, and hard work. The RailsBridge community thrives on optimism and a love for making great things.

What’s a RailsBridge Workshop?

Our most well-known efforts are free weekend workshops where women learn Ruby on Rails from volunteers. The students at our workshops range from folks who are completely new to programming to QA engineers and professional developers who want to learn Rails. During the Installfest (usually on a Friday evening), we get students’ laptops setup with the requisite technologies. The next day, we break into small group based on experience level and build a web app! (When we aren’t teaching Ruby and Rails, we teach HTML & CSS.)

Here is what we need:

Volunteers to assist in teaching as well as TA’ing.  I think we will need about 8 people that can teach a class using their curriculum and assistants to help attendees that are stuck.

Attendees to attend.  Spread the word to friends, strangers, social media, etc…

I will post the links as soon as I have them setup.  All social media should use the #railsbridge and #railsbridgeaz hashtags.

Most of us learned form others so lets return the favor.

Questions, comments, suggestions, want to volunteer, email me at

My Corner of the WebDRY Social Media Links

Bob Roberts:

Nice idea. You could go one step further and have the social_media as a variable in your controller.

Originally posted on PareidoliaX:

I went a little crazy with social media links last night. I wanted to make a nice nav element full of them. First I found a great github repository and site for the images called

With all those great icon options I ended up wanting to make nine links but I wanted to keep things DRY so I used an array and a loop. I was pretty pleased with the result.


This code is available…

View original 9 more words

Directions MagazineMapping Disaster: A Global Community Helps from Space

Directions MagazineMapping and Collecting Geospatial Data with iOS

LiDAR News3D Educational Event on the Battleship New Jersey

As part of this effort Leica Geosystems and Haag 3D are also scanning the New Jersey as a volunteer effort. Continue reading →

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Between the PolesUrban planning working group announced by the Open Geospatial Consortium

Sunshine ecomapAn Urban Planning Domain Working Group (DWG) has been chartered to define the role for Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards within the urban planning discipline.  The DWG offers an open forum for the discussion and presentation of interoperability requirements, use cases, and implementations of OGC standards relevant to urban planning. 

Technologies and trends such as smart cities, smart grids, sensor webs, the Internet of Things (IoT), facilities and asset management, indoor and outdoor navigation, energy performance modeling and real-time, “big data” analytics are important for urban planners.  In these technology domains, open standards encourage the sharing of information. The OGC Urban Planning Domain Working Group intends to discover requirements for open spatial standards in information systems involved in the planning, design, use, maintenance and governance of publicly accessible spaces. Requirements identified by OGC Domain Working Groups are typically used as the basis for standards development by chartered OGC Standards Working Groups (SWGs).

Image: Sunshine Ecomap

Directions Hooks Investment Capital, Gannett Fleming Support, Launches As Independent Company

Directions MagazineTouchShare Web Optimized for Use of Esri Map & Feature Services, KML and More

Directions MagazineOGC announces new Urban Planning Domain Working Group

My Georamblings...2013 Public Lab Annual Report Released

Image Credit: Public Lab

The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science Annual Report for 2013 was released yesterday. There are some great articles and images from all of the great work done last year.

Plus a shameless plug that an image of me made it in on page 34….

All Points BlogMapQuest Patent: Map Displays with POI information based on Reference Locations

The patent Systems and methods for generating electronic map displays with points-of-interest information based on reference locations was granted yesterday to MapQuest. Today, rumor is the company is shutting down its Lancaster, PA location (where two of the inventors of this patent, at... Continue reading

Directions MagazineParagon Software Systems Addresses Unique Needs of Convenience Store Deliveries

LiDAR NewsThe ROI for 3DEP

The goal of 3DEP is to systematically collect enhanced elevation data using lidar over an eight-year period Continue reading →

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AnyGeoThe 2014 Tour de Britain Route Maps

TweetWith the start of the 2014 Friends Life Tour of Britain just weeks away, cyclists and fans can get their hands on this year’s stage maps as Ordnance Survey and SweetSpot release the routes. The new route maps are available … Continue reading

Directions MagazineSpending on Smart Grid Technologies Will Total Nearly $600 Billion From 2014 through 2023

Directions MagazineThe Internet of Things Will Drive Wireless Connected Devices to 40.9 Billion in 2020

Directions MagazineZumigo Mobile Location Intelligence Solutions Part of Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator

Directions Magazine2014 TIGER/Line Shapefiles, Geodatabases, and Gazetteer Files Now Available

Ed ParsonsUpcoming Specialist Meeting on Spatial Search..

The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) is hosting a specialist meeting on Spatial Search, the call for papers ends on September 20th and proposals are requested on three topics..

  • Computational: What are the current computing challenges in spatial search? What are the limits of spatial indexing?
  • Geospatial: What kinds of spatial search are utilised in the geo-spatial domain?
  • Cognitive: What do we know about how humans conceptualise and perform information searches and how space helps?

It’s good to see GI Science addressing this topic as it offers great potential in a post SDI age..

Directions MagazineUSGS Historic Map Project Leader Feted by Librarians

Directions MagazineUK Cabinet Office Launches Maps of Government Property

Directions MagazineGeospatial and Mapping Science which is being offered by the University of Glasgow

Directions MagazineGeospatial and Mapping Science Degrees Launch Sept 2014 at the University of Glasgow

Directions MagazinePacific Community Launches a new Web-based Map of Epidemic Alerts

All Points BlogGIS Government News Weekly: Maine’s Future, Wisconsin Traffic, Avenza Courts Indiana DNR

The Future of Maine The Maine Futures Community Mapper (MFCM) is a web-based tool that helps Mainers: (1)identify locations that are most suitable for future development, conservation, agricultural uses, or forestry; (2) identify potential conflicts and compatibilities... Continue reading

Directions MagazineFOSS4G Extracurricular adventures, Map Gallery, and Schedule Updates

JGrass Tech TipsThe New York Natural Heritage Program embraces GeoPaparazzi! (a small preview of Geopaparazzi 4.0)

I am really excited to say that the Research Foundation for State University of New York really did embrace Geopaparazzi for some of their projects and sponsored a nice piece of functionality:


This is a functionality that has been in the wishlist of many Geopaparazzi users and thanks to Tim Howard and his group, it is going to happen really soon.

I also hope to get them to write us a nice post about their use of Geopaparazzi in the field of mapping invasive species.

Since these new functionalities were calling for a geopaparazzi 4.0 release, it was about time to also do one other long wished (at least by me) change: make the Geopaparazzi project single file based, in order to be self-contained and compact.

I won't keep this post really long right now, it is more about letting you know what we are up to next and also thank the Foundation for State University of New York for the sponsorship.

To explain a bit the two main changes that will be in Geopaparazzi 4, a small preview of it in two quick and simple videos.

The first one focuses on the new project structure, which has changed from a folder structure to a single sqlite file:

The second one shows how to use the spatialite polygon creation and editing tools:

We are currently in testing phase and some small things may change, but this is more or less what it will look like.

Geopaparazzi 4 is going to be exciting, I am looking forward to it!

PS: There are two major downsides to this migration:
  • we will need a conversion tool to transform old Geopaparazzi projects into the new, single file based, project format. I have a huge archive of hiking and travelling projects I can't loose... they are kind of my diary.
  • the OSM tools were currently lost in the process, since the database notes structure has changed
We are currently out of resources to solve this right away, but we will do our best.

Between the PolesRemote microgrids expected to show strong growth in Asia Pacific

Several of the heavily populated countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Bangladesh, India, and Indonesia, are experiencing high rates of rural electrification. Meeting the increased demand for power across the region will require innovative approaches, especially for regions remote from the existing power grid.  These include microgrids that are capable of operating in isolation the centralized power grid.   For example, in Bangladesh the Globle Environment Facility (GEF) is helping to speed the rural electrification process by working with the Government of Bangladesh, the World Bank, and Bangladesh’s Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) to increase the spread of off-grid, renewable energy technologies, such as solar home systems (SHS) in rural areas where people live too far from the main electrical grids.

India’s new government, led by Prime Minister Modi, plans to use solar power to bring electricity to the 400 million people who currently do not have access to it.  The government intends to aggressively implement the National Solar Mission that aims to install 20,000 MW of grid-connected solar power capacity and 2,000 MW of distributed solar power capacity by 2022.

A  recent Navigant Research report analyzes the Asia Pacific market for microgrids in four key segments (commercial/industrial, community/utility, campus/institutional, and remote) for nine countries (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines).

In emerging countries such as India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh electricity access through a centralized grid is not feasible in the immediate future for many. For example, in India many of the 400 million people who do not have access to electric power and cannot expect it in the near future because they are remote from the Indian power grid.  Microgrids, often including renewable energy sources, are a proven way to rapidly provide power to many of these people. Navigant expects that "remote microgrids" will show strong growth in emerging countries through 2023.

In addition developed nations, such as Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, will pursue technology development and pilot projects in the next few years and then will deploy diverse applications, especially in the commercial/industrial, campus/institutional, and community/utility microgrid segments. Navigant Research forecasts that annual grid-tied and remote microgrid capacity in the nine select Asia Pacific countries will grow from 37.0 MW in 2013 to 597.3 MW in 2023. The microgrid market in Asia Pacific is projected to grow from $778 million in 2014 to nearly $5.8 billion in 2023.

JGrass Tech TipsSTAGE - Desktop Tools (also) for Geopaparazzi

With the new upcoming geopaparazzi 4 release a few issues had to be solved:
  1. What should I do with all my old geopaparazzi 3 surveys? How do I integrate them with new data?
  2. What do I use to export data from a geopaparazzi 4 project to my GIS environment?
Well, we solved both the above problems inside STAGE, a Spatial Toolbox And Geoscripting Ennvironment, which is the tool we develop and use for the JGrasstools library for environmental modelling.

For those asking if it is the same Spatial Toolbox that comes with uDig, the answer is yes and no. Yes, because it is the same source code. And no, because since uDig is in the process of (and a bit stuck in) migrating through the Locationtech incubation, we needed to step forward with the geotools versions. So see STAGE as the temporary solution to work with the Spatial Toolbox, until we can enhance the uDig version again.

So where do I get STAGE and how do I use it for Geopaparazzi? A video tutorial showing it all can be found here:


AnyGeoMobile Fun! A History of Cell Phones

Tweet It would be interesting to hand a smartphone to Alexander Graham Bell. I don’t think he could fathom that his invention would translate to what it is now. In what started as a line and a can has evolved … Continue reading

Between the PolesCost of distributed wind energy in the U.S. estimated at 14¢/kWh

The total wind capacity in the U.S. at the end of 2013 was 61 GW which provided about 4.5 % of total U.S. demand.  A large portion of all wind turbines installed in the United States generate power for on-site or local use.  In 2013 distributed wind installations accounted for more than 80 percent of all wind turbines installed in the United States.  However, distributed wind capacity is a small proportion of the total U.S. wind capacity.  Reducing utility bills and hedging against rising electricity rates are common reasons for installing distributed wind.  Some utilities implement net metering which pays the distributed wind owner for excess generated energy that is returned to the grid.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has just released an interesting report on distributed wind energy in the U.S.  Distributed wind is defined by the wind project’s location relative to end-use, rather than on turbine or project size.  Distributed wind power is used at or near where it is generated, as opposed to wind power from wholesale generation, where power is sent to consumers via transmission lines and substations.  The distributed wind market includes wind turbines from very large to small domestic turbines.  DoE breaks the market into two segments:  "small wind" with turbines 100 kW or less and wind turbines greater than 100 kW.

Distributed wind capacity US 2003-2013 DoEIn 2013, 2700 new turbines were added totalling 30.4 megawatts (MW).  At the end of 2013 the total installed distributed wind capacity in the U.S. included 72,000 wind turbines totaling 842 MW. In 2013 40% of the new installations were residential, followed by 26% agricultural, 20% industrial and commercial, and 14% government and institutional.  Off-grid small wind turbines account for the bulk of wind turbine units deployed in U.S. distributed wind applications.

DoE has estimated the levelized cost of distributed wind energy.  The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is used to compare the cost of energy across different technologies.  For wind turbins the cost of the turbins and their capacity factor, which is dependent on the available wind resources, siting, and tower height, are the major factors determining a wind project’s LCOE.  Typically the higher the capacity factor, the lower the LCOE.  The capacity-weighted average capacity factor for a selected group of distributed wind projects installed between 2006-2013 analyzed by DoE is 15%, and their capacity-weighted average LCOE is 14¢/kWh. This can be compared to utility-scale natural gas 6-7¢/kWh, utility-scale wind at 8¢/kWh, or solar PV at 13¢/kWh.