Mapping Energy: Cartographies of Energy Into The Twenty-First Century

Jordan P. Howell, David L. Baylis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


"Energy" presents a number of complex and interrelated challenges regarding the environment, economy, and politics. In this paper, we argue that cartography should help clarify our understanding of energy issues, but ask whether this has in fact been the case. In a review of over 100 articles pulled from twenty-three peer-reviewed geography journals, we qualitatively assess energy maps published since the early 20th century, examining trends in topic and cartographic technique. Energy maps in geography journals have focused on North America and Western Europe while relying on proportional symbols, grayscale production, and the analysis of energy phenomena at the national scale-tendencies that in many instances have limited our understanding of the ways in which energy is actually consumed. Simultaneously, cartographers are limited to the energy data available to them, frequently precluding small-scale consumption analysis or consideration of diurnal and seasonal trends. We argue that the future of energy cartography relies on access to consumption data coupled with greater user interactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-228
Number of pages20
JournalGeographical Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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