Can you help? Can I help you?
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The renewables map started back in mid 2008 and has to be the longest running resource of its kind.
Constantly growing and now (mid 2015) has over 3,500 projects.
Added August 2015
Why am I here? Well, having monitored the use of Renewables Map, there are on average 2.5 page views per visitor, you will have reached 5 page views, (or 40 page views if from an educational establishment - contact me for more data ) most people will never see this page. Basically the restriction is to stop the wholeslae data mining by consultants and energy companies.
So, who uses renewables map and how much? Have a look:Visitor Listing. On a monthly basis there are about 10,000 unique visitors looking at 25,000 pages.
The biggest users I have approached for some kind of funding, especially when they have all sorts of grant schemes and sponsorship schemes advertised on their websites. So far a big ZERO ! ( Well, actually a £50 donation back in 2009 and a couple of sales of lists of data to smaller comapnies)
Here's a classic example. I approach Scottish Power, they respond to say they have their own resource. I went to Scottish power because they are the biggest user, still are! They say they have their own resource so no funing, so I stop their access to Renewables Map. So I get an email asking for the access to be renewed as they - not knowing about my earlier contact - tell me they are populating their resource by copying Renewables Map wholesale. I agree as they tell me they will look into funding. Over a month later not having heard anything I switch them off again. What happens then? Well, while 3,000 page refreshes over a minute might not strictly be a denail of service attack, it certainly wasn't an appropriate response.
So, where to go from here? I really don't know!
I would love to keep this resource going, as much as anything its great to have regular emails from university students asking for extended access to help them with their degree / PhD. Also schools and individuals. These requests are welcomed and and I will continue to give as a positive a response as possible.
I would love to be able to open it up for 100% free access to all. As an individual I cannot afford or justify this, especially when I see the data being systematically copied by consultancies, why on earth not contact me and look at keeping this resource going.
I'm afraid that I just cannot understand the total refusal or unwillingness or the ignoring of requests - even when they are invited - for funding a resourec that is not only used by everybody in the "sustainable" energy industry, but equally used by schools, the public, councils, the media.
Where has the map got to and where will it go.
I have now added individuual wind turbines, so far about 10,000 on and offshore installations, that's almost all the major projects covered. This is now being expanded to include those in development and many which are planned.
Nobody else does this, this is a unique resource!
- And weather data. This, linked with the characteristics of each turbine will show the calculated forecast output for each wind farm based on the local weather station going forward 5 days, still in development.
- And capacity from small scale generators within the FIT scheme (up to start of 2013)
- And the ability to show projects using Googlemaps, Bing Maps or Ordnance Survey.
- And the location is exact, not simply a postcode.
- And now there is the option of seeing both DECC and OFGEM data (where they have listed the projects) see this project as an example: http://www.renewables-map.co.uk/details.asp?pageid=1940
- and address and direct links to developer and operator with their details and a cross reference to their other projects.
- Coming soon will be selectable lists which will generate downloads in csv format.
The backend, the bit you don't see also gets better and means I can maintain the system faster. Time is taken in finding the data.
I also record elevations; turbine data; hub heights; county, accurate lat / long
And more recently who visits. A fairly simple bit of code that records IP numbers and matches them with owner. Google analytics also does this, I've integrated this into the site a bit more, Nothing suspicious just to see who regularly visits the site and the ability to watch for data mining.
Do I get any Help?
Do I get any help? Actually very little. I do get suggestions as to what the map might do and very welcome advice about individual projects, often without a source identified, I would really like to say thanks.
Now I am getting regular requests for downloads of all or part of the dataset: This is really appreciated as it indicates the worth of this resource.
So, I would like to be able to commit the time and resources (I write the code and research the data) to make this resource remain undeniably the best and able to provide more data. But, doing this and carrying on with my normal work, (I am self-employed, the map is less a hobby more a responsibility) well, I have to prioritise!
What I would welcome is a level of sponsorship that means I can apply more time to working on the renewables map and both maintain the data set and expand its functionality. I have listed a few changes below. Yes its a great resource, it could be fantastic.
In exchange? Well the simplest quid pro quo is direct access to existing data and ever more accurate data over time.
White Label Site
Perhaps a white label section of the website that configures the data along with your own dataset that you control? Graphs? Your logo and links to your website. Actually the sky is the limit.
But: Please don't ask for a copy of the data set so you can setup your own online resource. Yes I have been asked for this. Or simply sit there downloading project by project. Yes I see this and often by users who are highly funded.
The equivalent as a white label resource with your own branding, your domain name and design is certainly feasible, all drawing from the database, maybe if you are a renewable energy company, just showing your projects? Tell me how much you are paying your own developers to do this and its likely I'll knock off a zero from the price.
(I developed a works management package for a major company recently, I managed to knock off 2 zeroes from the alternative tender)
Additional backend listing facilities so I can order projects by date entered and date last modified so projects don't get missed out. Addition of a community support tag and annual or single financial commitment.
Include the OS reference so there can be a direct link to the Geograph website with the correct context.
Proposed developments to the map :
Given time, my ongoing development of the map will probably include:
Each project to be better associated with such as developer / owner / technology so that selection can be made based on these factors. Listings based on community involvement, perhaps a redesign of the front end?
But most important is the maintainance of the data.
Renewable Energy maps based on area, see an example for Kent: http://www.renewables-map.co.uk/kent
Addition of user data, so that users can upload links to images / photos of the projects
So, if you have a use for this sort of dataset then rather than investing what would certainly be tens of thousands of pounds developing your own - I would guess between 5,000 and 7,000 hours to replicate the map - then even more maintaining it, why not invest a small fraction in an existing resource that will provide all that and more and be associated with one of the best free resources of its type online!
Will the renewables map remain a free resource? For a bit longer, yes. But without support to pay the server bills, and some financial "appreciation" for the huge effort that goes into it, one day I expect I will reluctantly have to switch it off. Better that, than see it get increasingly outdated.
I could really do with some help.
As to how much? My guess is that the map currently needs a good 4 full days a week (and growing) to maintain the data and a further day to develop the underlying software. My preference would be to have multiple sponsors thus making this an inexpensive commitment towards a great and I hope valuable resource. Any sponsorship would have to be on a level of trust and to an extent informal, I really want to keep my own and any supporters costs down.
Any thoughts, support etc would be really gratefully received.
As a start, my server costs are about £144 a month, The only income I get associated with the map is about £25 a month from Adsense, I recently (two years ago, none since) had my very first donation! £50 ! The contributor said they found the map invaluable.
What Would I really Like?
Actually a few white label contracts. Maybe direct sponsorship, why be a big company maintaining one of many equivalent datasets when we could all work on ensuring there was a single totally up to date resource that can be downloaded as and when. This would also provide some real feedback from real renewable energy companies.
But here's a thought as to how it might help you more proactively, use of the map as a planning tool: See my blog entry where I have put a few thoughts down: Wind Farm Planning Tool
Overall, I don't want to be a business selling data, Ideally access would be free. Here's a thought, a Phd student wants to try to develop a tool to model wind or solar farm output based on weather forecasts. Renewables Map might be the only place they can simply download the majority of the data they require, DECC and OFGEM certainly isn't. As a free resource, that research loses a major stumbling block.
If its of interest, please contact me.