3D-Mapping Optimization of Embodied Energy of Transportation

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Pearce, Joshua M.
Johnson, Sara J.
Grant, Gabriel B.
ecological education , embodied energy , fuel conservation , greenhouse gas emissions , LEED , mapping , route optimization , transportation energy , transportation , energy
The recent development of Google Earth, an information service that provides imagery and three dimensional data depicting the entire Earth, provides an opportunity to use a new method of navigating information to save energy in the real world. Google Earth uses Keyhole Markup Language (KML) for modeling and storing geographic features and information for display in the Google Earth Client. This paper will analyze the potential of this novel and free geographic mapping service to reduce embodied energy of transportation in two ways. First, at the consumer level, Google Earth will be studied to map the automobile route that uses the least fuel and maintains vehicles at their individual maximum fuel efficiency velocities. The same analysis for single destination trips could be used to optimize fleet vehicle routes such as garbage or recycling collection trucks. The secondary benefit of ecological education will also be explored. Fuel used could be converted into monetary units based on the current price of gas, pollution/ greenhouse gas emissions, or ecological footprints to improve driving habits. Secondly, KML overlays will be analyzed for use of determining: i) raw material and products availability as a function of location, and ii) modes of transportation as a function of emissions. These overlays would enable manufacturers access to an easily navigable method to optimize the life cycle of their products by minimizing transportation embodied energy. The most efficient transportation methods and travel routes could be calculated. This same tool would be useful for architects to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating points for the green design of buildings. Overall, the analysis completed finds that the flexibility and visual display of quantitative information made available by Google Earth could have a significant impact at conserving fuel resources by reducing the embodied energy of transportation on a global scale.
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