Viewing California emissions in Google Earth

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) collects a lot of data on greenhouse gas emissions in California, and has just released a new system that allows of easy visualization of that data. By putting the data in Google Earth, you can quickly visualize the emission levels for any of the 625 facilities in the state.


You can view the data for yourself using their Facilities and Emissions Visualization Tool. While I’ve seen examples over the years of solid data being shown in 3D for no apparent reason, this is an excellent use transforming their data into a 3D map. By quickly glancing at the state, you can get an excellent feel for which areas are emitting the highest level of gases.
There is quite a lot of data in these maps, and they’ve built a short tutorial video to show you all of the features available.
From their news release:

“Knowing the exact quantity of greenhouse gas every major source pumps into the atmosphere is the foundation of an effective cap-and-trade program,” said Mary D. Nichols, ARB Chairman. “Thanks to our rigorous reporting program we know the amount of greenhouse gases each source emits down to the ton. This new application provides an easy way to pinpoint those sources on a map, and allows everyone to see at a glance how it compares to other facilities in the same county, or throughout the state.”

The new application links ARB’s database of the state’s largest sources of greenhouse gases with Google’s mapping technology, including satellite photography that shows details of each facility. The Google Earth module features a graphic representation of the relative size of each facility’s annual greenhouse gas emissions in relation to others throughout the state.

The application allows viewers to choose which sources they wish to see by sector (such as only choosing cement manufacturers, refineries, or power stations) and also displays specific counties, air basins and air districts. The application also shows six out-of-state facilities that provide some of the electricity imported into California.

(via treehugger and +Google Earth)

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Want to see real emissions? Try tracking China pollution or Asia as they have over 1 billion people crammed in there with no worker rights and very little regulations compared to us.
    All the money you spent on *Made In China* does NOT end in our coffers to stop the 1.2 TRILLION dollars in debt we owe.
    Places like Fox Con in China whom makes I Pad parts have suicide nets outside the building because workers are jumping out of windows from being frustrated in their work only earning equal to 1 dollar per day and a bowl of rice.
    The owners of Fox Con want to end this slavery crap but laws and regulations prohibit workers rights in China yet there is not a peep from your friends in Washington who want to stop Global Warming.
    Workers rights in China will have a much more positive impact on the whole world then carbon taxes.
    China’s economy is for the most part artificial since they rely on a lot of the world to buy from them and signs are showing that the bubble is popping there also.
    It will be something like 8,000 for every American to pay off our debt but when the government is involved we suddenly don’t question their spending habits.

  2. Another thing I am surprised no Google Earth topic has is the bunch of cities in China that nobody lives in.
    The last couple of years a bunch of people were put to work building all sorts of fancy resorts and cities which no one lives in.

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