Dynamic, Static Maps from the Washington Post web site


The Washington Post web site contains a great example of both static and dynamic maps in an article used to display US energy sources (coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar) for 2015. “Mapping How the United States Generates its Electricity” was created July 31, 2015 by John Muyskens, Dan Keating and Samuel Granadosand and accessible using the following link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/power-plants/.

The light gray, dynamic US map contains geographically distributed, colored coded (by power source) circles indicating the generating plant sizes in megawatts, which are defined by two legends. Moving the mouse across the states displays a pop-up, numeric list of power sources by state.  This map gives the reader the overall distribution of all generating facilities with the color coded sources showing a pattern of predominate use.

A second dynamic visualization tool allows the reader to select a power source and display a state-by-state comparison using a 50-state, color coded, bar chart in descending order. This shows which sources are dominate across each state in terms of percentage electricity generated, not from a geographic perspective.


A series of seven maps show the distribution of electrical generating capacity by source with additional details provided by an accompanying paragraph. Using the same gray background and color coded symbology, these maps show in detail the geographic distribution of power source.  As a result, patterns such as solar powered plants mostly in the southwest are clearly evident, but there are a surprising large number present in the northeast. The adjacent text discusses general power source specific generating details and trends.  This combination of static and dynamic maps allows the user to get a very detailed assessment of US electrical generating capacity.


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