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Data on Demand

2010 April 28

These days there is an abundance of information at our fingertips. Between blogs, wikis, social media tools, and the variety of applications currently available to us, we not only expect to access data instantly, but we want that information to be personalized to our needs and interests. In the age of “on demand” data, we at EPA have developed several online resources that help the general public, like you, access and understand the data that we collect as part of the Acid Rain Program.

Data can be a very powerful and useful tool to stakeholders and the public. We provide data from all of the monitoring programs associated with the Acid Rain Program on the Clean Air Market Division’s webpage. Having the data available to everyone is great, but sometimes numbers don’t mean much on paper. So, we’ve taken that useful data and repackaged it into a couple of different formats that make it easier to understand.

Interactive Mapping

On our interactive mapping page we took the emissions, air quality, and surface water monitoring data and plotted them on a map so you can explore the data in a new way. Using our interactive three-dimensional mapping features, anyone can see where power plants in the Acid Rain Program are located across the U.S. You can even zoom to your neighborhood, find the closest power plant and see how its emissions have changed over time.

Interactive map of emissions

Quarterly Tracking

Another cool data tool is the quarterly tracking page. This page has the most recent emissions data at all of the coal-fired power plants affected by the Acid Rain Program. For all you visual learners out there, this page uses motion charts to display trends in data over time. This motion chart shows changes in emissions over time. If you’re having trouble understanding these motion charts, you can always click and watch our motion chart video tutorial.

Motion chart

So, be our guest and click around our site. Do some personalized searches on our interactive maps to check out the data for the power plant closest to where you live. Then share your experience and tell us ways that you think people can use our data. We’d love to hear from you!

Colleen Mason is a Physical Scientist with the EPA’s Clean Air Markets Division. She works on assessing and communicating the results of the Acid Rain Program and other market-based programs.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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