Eclipse 2017 – Creating Maps and Animations Using Your Own Data

Many Velocity Suite Energy Map users already know of the software’s ability to use geography to query against Velocity Suite datasets as well as the accompanying map animations that can be created with the Time Series Animator. Adding to this capability, users can incorporate proprietary data into the Energy Map for these queries and animations.
The below example uses data of the upcoming August 21st, 2017 solar eclipse and how it will affect solar generating infrastructure across the United States. All of the information, data, and polygon shapes used in this analysis are available on NASA’s website (Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA GSFC Emeritus).

Data regarding the eclipse is broken into two primary sets of polygons: one for eclipse magnitude and one for duration in Universal Time (a modern continuation of Greenwich Mean Time). Underlying these two custom layers is a dataset created through a Velocity Suite Intelligent Query of our Generating Unit Capacity dataset. The generating units were filtered to show only units with a photovoltaic prime mover and an online date prior to August, 2017.
When styling the data layers, generating units were sized by their capacity in megawatts (MW) and colored by their status – operating or proposed. For eclipse magnitude, a temperature-based color scale was chosen to convey the percentage of the sun obfuscated by the moon. A simple shade of gray was used for the time polygons to convey movement of the shadow over time. The polygons for both magnitude and time were made translucent so as to not obscure the underlying unit data.
With both the Velocity Suite Generating Unit Capacity dataset and custom solar eclipse dataset in the same map, they can be combined for the purpose of geographic querying. The underlying generating unit data can be queried against magnitude, time range, or both simultaneously.
In order for the custom datasets to function with the Time Series Animator, a datetime column had to be added in a format that matched datetime data used by the Velocity Suite. This was accomplished by mimicking the datetime format used in time-related datasets (such as weather or LMP data). Once the datasets were added to the Energy Map, the software recognized the format of the datetime column and permitted the layers to be used in the Time Series Animator tool.
Allowing users to combine their own data with datasets in the Velocity Suite makes the Energy Map a notably more robust vehicle for conducting analysis. For additional information or questions on how to use tools within the Velocity Suite, please contact Customer Support.
Paul Vines – GIS Analyst