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Customizable Interactive Map Shows U.S. Alternative Fuel Data

June 9, 2009

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) announced the launch of a comprehensive mapping tool to help industry and government planners implement alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. The new TransAtlas tool combines several different types of geographic data to identify areas with potential for developing advanced transportation projects. It is sponsored by DOE’s Clean Cities initiative, which aims to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector by promoting advanced vehicle technologies and alternative fuels. This interactive mapping tool is available by visiting clicking on the TransAtlas icon.

 “What is unique about this interactive Web site is the bringing together of so many types of alternative vehicle fuels data into one place,” said National Clean Cities Director Dennis Smith at DOE. “Establishing a national network of fueling stations, fuel production facilities, and transportation infrastructure is vital to the successful implementation of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles."

NREL employed user-friendly Google Maps to display the locations of existing and planned alternative fueling stations, concentrations of different vehicle types, alternative fuel production facilities, roads and political boundaries.

The TransAtlas tool allows users to customize the information simply by checking boxes for each element. One or more types of fueling stations can be shown, including stations that dispense biodiesel, compressed or liquefied natural gas, ethanol (E85), electricity, hydrogen, and propane. Checking additional boxes adds existing ethanol production facilities and facilities under construction.

To explore the site deeper, the query function can be used to select individual stations or production facilities, or those in an entire region. Querying a station shows its location, contact information, and public access status. Querying a production facility shows its location, production capacity, and feedstock type.

“The ability to drill-down and see very detailed information including a station contact or even the production capability of an individual location puts a wealth of information directly into the user’s hands,” Smith said.

The display can be further customized by using the intuitive pan and zoom functions and setting map elements to various levels of transparency. Once the display has been customized, a print-ready version can be generated.

The Clean Cities initiative, ( ), a government-industry partnership through DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program, sponsors the TransAtlas tool.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.




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—Heather Lammers