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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Geography, Health

Resource Type

  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Power Plants and Communities Mapping Tool

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  • This interactive map visually displays data about power plants and emissions in the United States, combined with demographic data like income level and race. 
  • The map allows students to identify the demographic groups found in close proximity to power plants that emit air pollution, and specifically the type and amount of emissions produced by that plant. 
Teaching Tips


  • The map includes the ability to view tribal lands.
  • There are a wide range of layers and filters available, including seven different demographic measures. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • When the site is first opened, there is a pop-up explaining the basics of navigating the map. This is useful, as the map is detailed and may be difficult to interpret.
  • Layers can be added or removed by clicking the layers icon in the top right corner of the map (to the right of the home button). 


Scientist Notes
This resource is a web interface that allows users to examine data pertaining to power plants within the United States. Information for each power plant can be seen by clicking on individual plants on the map, while additional layers (such as emissions) can be overlaid using the pull-down menu found in the upper right of the map. Additionally, power plants can be filtered for emission level, demographic information, etc. It takes a bit of time to get used to the interface, but once you figure it out it is a useful tool for learning about power plant emissions and the impact on local communities. Data sources can be found within the info menu in the upper right. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.1.6-8 Construct maps to represent and explain the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.1.9-12 Use geospatial and related technologies to create maps to display and explain the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.3.9-12 Use geographic data to analyze variations in the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics at multiple scales.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
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