Week 3 Website Post

North-South Connectors on the West Side and Existing Metro Stops

The map above validates my pervious posts’ assertions that there are many east-west bus routes but very few north-south connections on the Westside. Since my project area is relatively large, I zoomed in and took screen shots of each proposed north-south stop location to better display the existing bus routes and stops.

LAX and Playa Vista Proposed Stops

This map clearly displays that from LAX you can go east or south. However, traveling directly to the Westside would require many transfers. Playa Vista, a relatively new mixed-use new urbanist community, has very few Metro line services. A new route would greatly increase access for its residents and would better incorporate the advantages and purpose of Transit-Oriented Development.

Expo Line and VA Hospital Proposed Stops

It is important to note that currently Metro does not have any east-west connectivity within a mile of the Exposition/Sepulveda station. However, this area of West LA is serviced by the Culver City Bus and Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (both have stops within 1/4 mile of this location). Additionally, Metro is building the Expo Line rail which will have a stop here  in 2015. The new North-South connector should definitely stop at the VA Hospital because this stop already has access to transit that goes down to Santa Monica and in to Downtown. Additionally, the Westside Subway Extension (Purple Line) will eventually have its terminus here and this will greatly help the elderly get to wherever they need to go in a timely manner.

North Sepulveda Pass Proposed Stop

Again, this image reveals very little north-south connectivity, especially over the Sepulveda Pass to connect the Valley to Downtown or the Westside.

Currently, the Westside Cities are developing a long-range transportation plan to increase mobility and accessibility. Clearly, a north-south connector is a warranted development and public service. The previously proposed stations seem to be appropriate locations given current Metro routes, proposed Metro rail development, and the author’s knowledge of transit routes from Culver City and Santa Monica bus services.

Want to see this map in a full screen?  Click here. Want to see a route one at a time? Click here instead.

Week 2 Website Assignment

For the full version of this map, please visit http://www.yohman.com/students/2012/kfigueira/Week2/Week2Assignment.html

The newest addition to the North-South connection includes possible points of interest within a 1/4 mile of each transit stop. The yellow circles indicate a buffer with a 1/4 mile radius.

Heading north from LAX, the first two business locations are restaurants. If you just arrived from LAX and are hungry, these two locations are superb dining choices. Wolfgang Puck Cafe is actually in the airport, so you can grab a quick bite to eat before you catch your ride. If you are in a rush to get on your way (or don’t want to pay higher prices for “airport food”), Slice, in Playa Vista, is an up-and-coming pizza place. They also have the “Best Buffalo Wings Outside of Buffalo”… but don’t just take their word for it- give it a try!

The next stop is a Party City, so that you can get ready to celebrate being on the Westside! Party City also sells stationary and stamps, which will be useful for our next stop.

Then, at the VA/Wilshire Blvd stop, you can walk to the Post Office to send mom and dad a postcard to let them know that you’ve made it!

Finally, after a relatively stress-free trip, you have arrived at the northern part of the Sepulveda Pass. This stop is close to Castle Park, the true reason why you came to Los Angeles in the first place. At this low-grade theme park you can hit the batting cages or play some arcade games until you run out of money.

Take Energy Seriously, Los Angeles! (T.E.S.L.A.)

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption is a priority of the state of California. In 2009, California implemented SB 375, which requires Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to create Sustainable Community Strategies to address these goals.

Recently, New York City published a consumption map that graphically displays electricity use at the block level (http://modi.mech.columbia.edu/nycenergy/). It further estimates annual energy consumption by end-use (space heating, space cooling, electricity usage, and hot water).

This map has garnered a lot of attention from California’s MPOs and Governor Jerry Brown. Last week, Governor Brown’s office requested a similar map be produced for Los Angeles’ energy consumption. The Institute of the Environment (a research facility at UCLA) has accepted this challenge and want to produce a pilot map to engage people with their ongoing research related to SB 375.

Why Energy Mapping?

Our team, Take Energy Seriously, Los Angeles! (T.E.S.L.A.), will use New York’s energy consumption map as a resource.  Our group will create a pilot version of this map for the City of Los Angeles (City) mapping water and energy consumption. We have annual water usage data at the address (meter) level and electricity data at the zip-plus four level. Additionally, we have a parcel map that has building-type and square-footage data for the City. This data is useful because it provides a more complete overview of energy consumption in Los Angeles.

As of right now, only the utilities know how much energy is used and where it is used. Producing this map greatly impacts energy policy in the City and eventually throughout the State. Knowing this level of data can assist policymakers in their understanding of implications of energy sustainability requirements and goals. This map can also be utilized by Los Angeles residents to clarify and illuminate where the major power consumers are in the city.

Our Team

Jacki- Technical Genius and Principal Dreamer

Hailing from Kansas City, Jacki came to UCLA’s Urban and Regional Planning program and hit the ground running! She has worked for The Institute of the Environment for three quarters and will be the liaison between our client (The Institute of the Environment) and our group. Jacki’s data analysis skills will be a great addition as we graphically display complex information.

Kristen- Energy Super Star and Data Cruncher

A local of Southern California, Kristen grew up with an interest in Los Angeles happenings. As an undergraduate, Kristen studied residential energy consumption and feedback technologies to increase conservation. Her extensive knowledge will be valuable to inform decisions regarding data analysis.

Kyle- Math Extraordinaire and Voice of Reason

Kyle is the MAN! Not just gender wise, but also in cool-factor. As a civil engineer, Kyle will be a great asset in validating our methodology and processing complex levels of data. Kyle hails from Anaheim, California but spent his undergraduate years in New York.

Zhongbo- Creative Director and Voice of the People

Zhongbo makes the world a better looking place wherever she goes! Originally from Jilin, China, Zhongbo has a degree in civil engineering and is currently concentrating in Design and Development at UCLA’s Urban and Regional Planning program. Her ability to inspire will create an engaging interface that is user-friendly.

Where Are We From?

Website Review #2- Pulse UC Berkeley Energy Dashboard

Pulse UC Berkeley Energy Dashboard

This website (Image 1) provides an energy dashboard for UC Berkeley’s campus (http://us.pulseenergy.com/UniCalBerkeley/dashboard#/overview). It aims to permanently reduce energy consumption by providing real-time energy use information. It displays historical trends for the campus overall and for individual buildings on campus.

Image 1

The website uses Adobe Flash to display many interesting features. It has pictures of buildings (Image 1) with historical data on the main page. It also has individual webpages with detailed profiles of each buildling’s energy usage (Image 2).

Image 2

From the main page, you can access a Google-supported map of all of the buildings that are monitored across campus (Map 1). Each marker has a title when you hover over it and also has an info window (Map 2). From the info window you can then click on the image of the building and it will take you to a detailed profile page (Image 2).

Map 1

Map 2

User-interface Pros/Cons

Pros: The website is informational and interactive. Energy use is often an ambiguous mess of data that is difficult to interpret and understand. The interface is intuitive and it is easy for a user to click around the website and find what he or she is looking for

Cons: The map portion is relatively small and simple. There could be interesting GIS functions (such as graduated symbols based on each building’s energy use) that could have been integrated in for the marker symbols. Also, the map is tucked away and is not a prominent feature. Image 3 shows that the map is located on the homepage and is accessed by clicking the map symbol. However, it would be better to have access to the map more prominently displayed to help the user orient oneself with the buildings, locations, and energy uses.

Image 3

General Evaluation

Overall, the Pusle Website provides an interesting interactive tool to engage energy consumers.  The website appears rather simple, but based on this week’s coding lessons, I am sure that it took a lot of time to construct! As mentioned previously, the map display is rather boring and could have been better utilized. Also, the info windows do not contain very useful content in them. It would be interesting to integrate energy use trends in to the info window to be able to access a quick cursory view of the historical energy use across different parts of the campus.



Week 1 Assignment 2- North-South Connectivity for the Westside

Full Size Map: http://kristenf.bol.ucla.edu/Week1Assignment2.html

Los Angeles’ Westwide has experienced a lot of proposed East-West connectivity projects. Given this new development, it is important to start planning North-South connectivity as well.

There are five proposed stops that should be planned and ready to implement concurrently with the development of the Expo Line and the extension of the Westside Subway. These stops include: Los Angeles International Airport, Playa Vista, Sepulveda and Exposition Expo-Line Stop, the Wilshire/405 Westside Extension Stop, and the North End of Sepulveda Pass.

Website Review #1- National Geographic Earth Pulse

National Geographic Earth Pulse

Source: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2002/04/afghan-girl/original-story-text

National Geographic, a publication perhaps best known for its amazing imagery, has an interactive map website (http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps) for it’s EarthPulse 2010 Report. This report, which is the “State of the Earth 2010,” includes essays, photographs, maps, and “vital statistics” (http://earthpulse.nationalgeographic.com/earthpulse/index.html).

The very first map National Geographic presents is a general world map supported by Bing (http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps).

Map 1

The map looks nice and is clean but is rather boring to interact with. The user can zoom in and out, re-center the map, change the background to “Road” view, and add/remove labels. I would have expected to be able to click on continents, countries, or regions and have a basic profile information window pop up.

When exploring the Earth Pulse Maps (http://earthpulse.nationalgeographic.com/earthpulse/earthpulse-map), there are several topics to explore. The user can click on up to two topics at a time. If the user selects two topics, there is a toggle at the bottom that allows the user to switch between the two maps to compare data.

For example, the user can choose to compare Water Footprint Per Capita (Map 2) with the Percent Irrigated Land (Map 3) for each country.

Map 2

Map 3

Additionally, there are charts and graphics that correspond with each map. For the Population Density Map (Map 4), there are two graphics (Image 1) and a link to an essay related to the topic of population growth and desnity.

Map 4

Image 1

User-interface Pros/Cons

Pros: National Geographic does a great job of incorporating a lot of data and variables into a simple map. The clean presentation allows for data to be sorted by topic on the left side of the screen and the user can easily switch between viewing multiple variables. Additionally,  the user-interface of the “Vital Statistics” maps provide a nice cursory level of information about a specific topic. As mentioned earlier, the ability to find more information through links and graphics at the bottom of the maps make it easy to explore the Earth Pulse report without getting bogged down by topics or details one might not be interested in. For instance, a user might want to learn about population growth and density trends but might care very little about the amount and type of meat consumption in each country. The user-interface facilitates this navigation very easily.

Cons: For a mid-twenty year old, the interface is intuitive and simple. However, I have a suspicion that my parents would not know the capability of the program or be able to understand the various functions that are available. It took me about five minutes of clicking around in order to figure out that I could navigate between two maps (Map 2 and Map 3) simply by clicking on the bottom slider instead of unchecking boxes.

In terms of formatting, the map legend and descriptor of the topic both expand when the mouse hovers over them. It is nice that they can “shrink”, but the position of the legend makes it difficult to view the legend and South America at the same time (Map 2, Map 3, Map 4).

General Evaluation

Overall, the National Geographic maps do a good job of synthesizing information in to a clean report. However, they are static images that do not have new and updated information. It would be nice to be able to compare data over time. Additionally, I would have liked to be able to click on different regions within the Vital Statistics maps and have small paragraphs describing trends in the region or interesting facts. I would classify this website as interactive because there are maps, statistics, charts, and essays to engage the user. However, the maps themselves are not very dynamic.