Tag Archives: environment

Pipeline Map, Fractracker

12 Sep

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As everyone knows, there was a pipeline explosion in Beaver County over the weekend, a mere 30 miles from Pittsburgh. The pipeline was one week old

Thanks to Fractracker, we have a map of all of the pipelines in the state of Pennsylvania.

You can click around the map and see things such as who owns and operates a particular line, natural gas spills and incidents, where the pipelines cross waterways and wetlands, among other useful info.

According to the site, “pipeline data is published from a variety of public agencies, although almost none of it is really accessible or accurate.” “While they do not publish gas pipelines, they do have a 2012 dataset of natural gas liquid routes, which is a significant portion of the hazardous liquid inventory. From an analytical point of view, however, this dataset is essentially worthless. Many of these pipelines are so generalized that they don’t make a single bend for multiple counties, and the actual location of the routes can be miles from where the data are represented. Communities cannot use this as a tool to better understand how pipelines interact with places that are important to them, like schools, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods.

Photos of the Beaver County explosion:



Visualize Pollution with AirVisual

30 Jan


You can view a real-time visualization of air pollution across the globe. This map shows an animated visualization of wind patterns and Air Quality Index (an index of combined ozone, PM2.5, PM10, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide).

As most of our wind comes from the west, you can see exactly how Ohio is mucking up our air, as pollution knows no state borders.

Be sure to click to see the mesmerizing map in action.

How Tree Canopy Affects Surface Temperatures

16 Oct


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Read the article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Also related is a map of the tree canopy that was featured in National Geographic.

40% of Pittsburgh Residents in Crude-oil Train Derailment Danger Zones

16 Oct



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  • Pittsburgh’s total population: 305,704
  • People living within a half-mile: 126,505 (41%)
  • Schools within a half-mile: 72

Article here

GASP’s Air Quality Map

18 Jan


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The regions oldest environmental organization, the Group Against Smog and Pollution or GASP, recently unveiled their new interactive map that visualizes where the best and worst fine particulate air quality is located. You can toggle between days of the week, time, and season to help you make better choices on where you may want to recreate or exercise.

gaspvolunteerThe data itself was collected by volunteers who strapped air quality monitors to the front of their bikes and rode around, like the photo to the right.  The collections were geolocated and uploaded to form the initial points. They are in need of more data, and are looking for volunteers to help.

Check out the map, and please volunteer.

Interactive Carbon Footprint Map

18 Jan


Carbon footprint of Pittsburgh and surrounding suburbs. Click to make BIG

People in the densely populated cores of big cities are responsible for less greenhouse gas emissions, but the more carbon-intensive lifestyle of their far-flung suburbs cancels out any of the benefits, researchers at UC Berkeley found.

A new interactive map visualizes the carbon footprint of every zipcode in the US. The above screenshot is of Pittsburgh and the surrounding suburbs.  You can hover your mouse over different zips, and you’ll instantly see the analysis using household income, vehicle ownership, home size, population density, weather to estimate how different areas of the United States contribute to greenhouse gas emissions at the household level.

Super amazing.

What if the Fukushima nuclear fallout crisis happened to Pittsburgh’s closest reactor

30 Mar

Beaver Valley Power Station (Shippingport, Pennsylvania)


  • 2 Operating Nuclear Reactors
  • Pressurized Water Reactor
  • First Operating License Issued 36 years ago
  • Original Operating License Extended to 60 Years
  • Operating at 109.4% of Original Design

Within 10-mile Evacuation Zone:

  • people 143,000 People (2010 Total Population)
  • school 41 Public Schools
  • hospital 5 Hospitals

Within 50-mile Potential Contamination Zone:

  • people 3,250,000 People (2010 Total Population)
  • school 981 Public Schools
  • hospital 101 Hospitals

Scary, huh.  All of this info came from the Nuclear Fallout Map created by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

You can go to the site and take action.

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