By Sarah Kaye

I’ve always loved maps. I can remember standing in my grandfather’s study, the smell of dust and oak permeating the air, repeatedly spinning the sepia-toned globe in the corner of the room. I felt a deep sense of possibility with millions of square miles of information spinning underneath my fingertips.

As an adult, I still love maps because of the possibility they represent. Maps allow us to tap into our sense of adventure and exploration. At Brendle Group, we love using geospatial data to develop interactive maps that can inform policy, infrastructure investment, and even social marketing. I’m excited to share a few recent examples below of how mapping has supported clients along their journey to a more sustainable future.

The City of Northglenn’s Treasure Hunt
No, this isn’t a hunt for gold, but rather, a golden opportunity! In support of equitable Electric Vehicle (EV) charging opportunities for the community and region, the City of Northglenn, Colorado, worked to identify the best locations for charging stations. To support this effort, Brendle Group developed an interactive map that layered publicly available information – including existing charging stations and areas eligible for additional equity-focused funding – with localized city expertise to identify six specific prioritized locations. We often find that leveraging local knowledge, building on existing resources, and capitalizing on Brendle Group’s expertise can result in the best treasure map! This map will inform the City’s investment in public charging infrastructure, as well as outreach to prioritized private property owners. A win-win-win for the City, the property managers, and the community!

The City of Louisville’s Search for the Lost City
Well not a lost city at all, but rather a neighborhood most in need of resources to support energy efficiency improvements. The City of Louisville is situated in Boulder County, a County that experiences significant income bifurcation (a split between high-income and low-income residents). The City’s goal with this project was to connect residents with energy efficiency opportunities through a campaign to reduce the cost of home energy assessments – ultimately leading to more efficient homes and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Louisville subsidized Xcel Energy Home Energy Squad visits to significantly reduce the cost of energy assessments for their residents. But Louisville wanted to know: will this opportunity get lost for the residents who need it most?

With this concern in mind, Brendle Group leveraged publicly available data to identify a neighborhood by exploring census block groups with both older homes and lower-incomes relative to the rest of the city. Armed with a map identifying homes and residents that likely needed energy efficiency support the most, Louisville targeted their communications to that neighborhood. The result? Almost all of the subsidized Home Energy Squad visits were leveraged by the targeted households, supporting residents who might not otherwise have the ability to receive energy efficiency assessments.

The City of Denver’s Quest to Uncover a Hidden Message 
Sometimes the answer is right in front of our eyes and we just can’t see it. The City and County of Denver is on a mission to provide an electric carshare program to meet their mobility and climate goals. But how to decide which locations are best for electric carshare charging hubs? To answer this question, Brendle Group teamed up with the City’s Climate Action and Resiliency office to do some investigative sleuthing. But the message was hidden! We found there was no singular data set that would provide us the answer. Uncovering the hidden message required layering seven geospatial layers to create a suitability index based on the City and County of Denver’s objectives. Once overlayed correctly, this data illuminated patterns throughout the city – highlighting the best locations to pursue potential electric carshare programming.

Ready to launch your own adventure using geospatial exploration? Let us be your trusted guides!

About the Author – Sarah is an enthusiastic member of the Brendle Group team who has worked in both government and the private sector on a broad range of planning topics including: climate, resiliency, transportation, comprehensive, and integrated water and land use. Sarah is fueled by a passion for finding ways to bridge gaps in the often-siloed areas of sustainability – as well as building on existing intersections – collaborating with customers to create and implement impactful projects.

Sarah’s previous work with North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization sharpened her ability to bring together politically diverse stakeholders to produce plans and programs that provided benefits to an entire region. Sarah is flourishing as a subject matter expert in the field of integrated land use and water planning, bringing her expertise to projects ranging from code review to metrics development.

What really sets Sarah apart is her passion for connecting with stakeholders and project partners, facilitating robust dialogues, and developing a deeper understanding of the communities with which she works.