As it has been a while since I blogged and even longer since I blogged about, I thought it was time for an update!

So, what’s new, I hear you ask! Well, we now have energy meters installed in all of the student court buildings, and working in all but one of them (this problem is being addressed) and I’ve also been working on 3 new data visualisations around the energy data available through!

Here’s a quick summary of the visualisations I’ve been working on, and the data I’ve used to create them:

Campus Heat Map

This is the first visualisation I created, using data from the buildings API from, to find the longitude and latitude of the buildings and data from the energy API to get the previous 24hours energy usage for each of the relevant buildings. As discussed in a previous post, I originally used the total amount of energy used over the past 24 hours, but it became obvious that some of the larger buildings were using amounts of energy that were magnitudes higher than other buildings, which resulted in only a couple of buildings being represented on the heat map. Obviously, this was far from ideal. To counteract this, I used the energy usage per square metre value (available in the results through the API) which evened out the playing field a little. Have a look here to see the current campus heat map!

I used HeatMap API to create the overlay on top of an instance of Google Maps for the heat map itself. Documentation on the Heat Map API website is fairly robust and well-explained, if you want to use it.

Comparative Energy Usage Map

As a follow on to the campus heat map, I created a similar map (this time for all buildings, including student courts) which shows how the energy usage of each building over the past 24 hours compares to the preceding 24 hour period. Again, the building API through was used, in particular the latitude and longitudinal outlines of each building. Obviously, the energy API was also used, along with Google Maps and their polygons.

In instances where buildings are currently using less energy that the preceding 24 hours, the buildings are shown in green; conversely, where they are using more energy, they are shown in red. In instances where some data is missing, unavailable or something has gone wrong, somewhere, they are shown in blue. (The meters in some buildings are currently not working!)

Student Courts Leaderboard

After discussing the energy data and, in particular, students’ energy usage with some of the members of the Lincoln Social Computing Research Centre (LiSC), I decided to have a go at creating some form of ‘leaderboard’ of the student courts buildings, and their energy usage.

This was created using the energy API from to get the current energy usage of each of the buildings; I then used the buildings API to count the total amount of rooms in the building (some of the courts are different sizes). As such, I was able to make a rough estimate of the average energy usage, per room, of each of the student courts – and made the comparisons a little fairer in the process. Using the ‘airpot’ jQuery plugin I was able to make a simple airport departure board – esque leader board showing the current energy usage of each of the student courts. The board will update itself at a pre-determined interval, so can be kept running ‘live’ if required or desired!

Punchcard Visualisation or “Who’s Leaving Their Lights On??????”

Wanting to visualise the student courts’ energy usage in yet another way, I was pointed in the direction of the ‘dots’ Javascript plugin, from Raphael Javascript library. Using this, and the data available through the energy API on, I calculated the energy usage of each of the student courts over the past ‘full’ day (12 midnight – 11:59pm) in one-hour blocks and then used the dots plugin to create this visualisation. The dots create a punchcard-like view of the energy usage over the past day and present an interesting way to visualise the energy data. Now we can easily see which courts are leaving their lights on in the early hours!!! :-)

N.B: Hovering over each of the dots will show the energy usage for that particular hour!

So, that’s what I’ve been working on!