Art appreciation

energy art appreciation corner with Colin Murchie – pv magazine USA

“Sometimes you get to do a lot of shit at work.”

The brilliant and singular Colin Murchie, Senior Director of Business Development at EVgo, offers a look at the United States, analyzed by utility territories.


I did this as part of my daily life at EVgo, where we are still developing a large national network of fast chargers for electric vehicles.

The underlying data used to create the map is public; this is the “Retail Service Territories” layer and service published by the Department of Homeland Security as part of its Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-level data.

Double click to enlarge

Image: Colin Murchie

The data was synthesized by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the Homeland Security Infrastructure Program team.

I generated the styles and visualizations in ArcGIS Online for our internal GIS tool. Colors are generated randomly on each launch, primarily using ESRI’s default color palettes.

When we use this internally, there are also different filters, boundary and opacity treatments, especially to better represent the boundaries of municipal and cooperative utilities. And of course the labels!

There are funny stories here. You can see all of Nebraska covered in these co-ops that * sort of * follow county lines until you take a closer look, or see the Kentucky Utility Co. tracing the topography there. Of course, knowing if a utility territory is really a polygon is not a simple matter of mapping – they are not really “shapes” legally …

The results are often very beautiful, which I think makes people use it more.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of pv magazine.

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