Category Archives: Maps

Lansing, Michigan (LBWL) crowdsourced power outage map of 29 December 2013

The ice storm of late December 2013 hit the Lansing area hard,
and the municipal power authority has not handled the resulting
outages as well as citizens would have them do.

The Lansing, Michigan area has electrical service from LBWL,
the Lansing Board of Water and Light. Even though the surrounding
area is served by Consumers Energy, LBWL serves an area roughly
encompassing Lansing and East Lansing. For one thing,
LBWL does not maintain an outage map online, which is relatively
unusual in this day and age.

The map below is a crowd-sourced tracking of outages and
restorations in the Lansing area. It’s been put together
under the lead of @jsiarto (Jeff Siarto) with the help of
other Lansing area residents and with data pulled in part from
the LBWL Facebook page.


Sources to look for more information –

I wrote up the ice storm of late December 2013 with some maps of the
other damage to the area.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light is a municipally owned public utility,
governed by a Board of Commissioners. The board is made up of eight
Lansing residents, each appointed for a four-year term on the board
by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council.

The Lansing Area Power Outages map is a Google map, and this image
is just a snapshot of it.

News coverage –

WILX-TV – East Lansing Resident Creates Public BWL Outage Map

Unlike Consumers Energy and DTE, Lansing Board of Water and Light doesn’t have a real time outage map for customers, but it’s something the company is currently developing, according to company spokesperson Steve Serkaian.

“We’re working on a “smart grid” system that’s similar to what other utilities offer, but it’s something that costs a significant amount of money to implement,” he said. “But we have heard our customers loud and clear and we’re committed to working on communicating with them better.”

Lansing State Journal – Board of Water and Light: ‘We have heard loud and clear’; BWL promises to review its handling of the ice storm cleanup

(BWL General Manager J. Peter Lark) said BWL is running at “optimum” staffing levels. On Friday, he said, 30 crews were on the ground, a figure that includes 12 line crews and five tree-trimming crews. Crews are made up of two or three people, with most line crews using three.
The utility to date has brought in outside help from five other municipally owned utilities, but Lark said Friday he doesn’t plan to bring in more — at least one BWL employee would have to ride with the outside crew, and that would reduce the number of BWL crews in operation.

Michigan Radio – Most power restored in Michigan, LBWL still has work to do

Most of those still without power are customers of Lansing’s public utility. Angry customers showed up at a company press conference yesterday to complain about the slow repairs. The number of Lansing Board of Water and Light customers without power actually increased yesterday as melting ice from tree limbs damaged more power lines.

Lansing Online News – 5 lingering questions about the Lansing ice storm – yours?

The press conference confirmed communication failures on the part of the officials involved. But when will that get better? Why not now? When will the outages be over? When will the community return to normal? When will the powers-that-be get their act together so people can make wise choices? Temperatures are expected to plunge into single digits tonight. What should people whose power is out do now? Move their families, especially the elderly and infirm, to other locations? Can people with pets still take them to the Ingham County Animal Shelter? When will those who should have the answers start communicating effectively?


Maps of South Sudan and its capital city of Juba

Some maps of South Sudan, which is in the news today because of an emerging civil war.

UNOCHA South Sudan describes the displaced persons in South Sudan:

On 20-21 December (2013), the security situation remained stable but tense in Juba. It is estimated that at least 20,000 people are sheltering at the two main UNMISS bases in town. During assessments in different neighbourhoods of Juba, protection agencies found several areas deserted, and witnessed looting.


The UNOCHA briefing map detail shows the detail of cities. Juba is in the province of Central Equatoria.


Stamen Design highlights South Sudan in a 2011 post describing The World

Stamen’s first iPad app and our first project with the National Geographic Society, is available for download from Apple’s app store


Finally, has detailed maps of a number of cities in the country. This is an excerpt of detail of the city of Juba.


The Republic of South Sudan Investor Guide has more maps, and a number of descriptions of the country from a perspective of trying to attract foreign investment.

Ice storm of December 21-22, 2013 and the Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index

On the Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index:

The Sperry–Piltz Ice Accumulation Index, or SPIA Index, is a forward-looking, ice accumulation and ice damage prediction index that uses an algorithm of researched parameters that, when combined with National Weather Service forecast data, predicts the projected footprint, total ice accumulation, and resulting potential damage from approaching ice storms. It is a tool to be used for risk management and/or winter weather preparedness.

The index is named after its co-developers, Sidney Sperry of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives and Steven Piltz, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service in Tulsa.


The map shows intensity of the ice storm on a scale from 0 (little impact) to 5 (catastrophic damage). The index incorporates measures of rainfall (as ice), wind, and temperatures to come up with an aggregate measure. Washtenaw County’s forecast is a 0, but to the north (Livingston) and west (Jackson) counties there are chances for more severe icing. The forecast gives the worst hit to upstate New York along Lake Ontario; alas this map does not show Canadian forecasts, but news accounts predict severe weather in Toronto as well.

A report from Brampton, Ontario:

Ice in Burlington, Vermont:

Power outage map (Sunday a.m.) from DTE Energy:


Power outage map (Sunday a.m.) from Consumers Energy:


Ice estimate from National Weather Service Detroit:


Plowing snow at midnight

Ann Arbor’s plow truck fleet is out in force in the wee hours of Sunday, 15 December 2013. You can follow along your self on the city snow plow tracking page.


No, I don’t know either why Jackson Road is labelled as US-12. More details of the City of Ann Arbor plowing program at

How much snow did we get? The National Weather Service map says about 6 inches in Ann Arbor.


DETROITography, a weblog of maps about Detroit

File under Detroit and maps


Maps and geography of Detroit – that’s what we are all about. We like to write about maps that other people make about the city as well as create our own maps of Detroit.

This map (one of many on the site) shows the overlap of what people map out when they say they are from Detroit. The densest is the downtown region only; the most generous encompasses a 9-county region. From Alex B. Hill, 100 Maps of Detroit:


I chose to look at the first 100 images that appeared in a Google image search for “map of Detroit” and overlay the results. Many corporations based in Southfield, Warren, or Dearborn choose to say they are based in “Detroit,” Likewise, most regional organizations (Detroit Chamber, Detroit Water & Sewage, SEMCOG, etc.) represent Detroit with boundaries that extend into surrounding municipalities, most commonly the tri-counties (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb). A number of the 100 maps show urban sprawl to varying degrees while some maps categorize municipalities around the city as “Detroit.” Some maps even included parts of Windsor, Ontario in the “metro Detroit” area. The larger boundaries match the Combined Statistical Area (CSA) and the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as outlined by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which represent “Detroit” as either a 6 county area (MSA) or a 9 county area (CSA).

Follow @detroitography for news of site updates and more Detroit map infos.

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Landfall Map from UN OCHA

This map is taken from the UN OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) post Philippines: Super Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall, UN and humanitarian community on high-alert, dated 8 November 2013; click through for a larger version.


Many further details about the devastation of Haiyan (Yolanda) on the Philippines can be found in the Al Jazeera live blog Typhoon Haiyan Live. As of 10 November 2013 there are reported estimates of the dead as a result of this storm exceeding 10,000 people.

While there have been preliminary estimates of 10,000 dead in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. “Local government officials think the number could reach 20 or 30 thousand people,” Al Jazeera’s Margot Ortigas reported from Manila.

UPDATE: Weather reports from Dr Jeff Masters at Weather Underground:

With a preliminary death toll of 1,200, Haiyan already ranks as the 8th deadliest typhoon in Philippines history. The deadliest typhoon in Philippines history was Typhoon Thelma of 1991, which killed between 5101 – 8000 people, reports wunderground’s weather historian Christopher C. Burt in his latest post on Philippines typhoon history. Haiyan will become the deadest typhoon in Philippines history if the estimates today of 10,000 dead hold up. Bloomberg Industries is estimating insured damages of $2 billion and total economic damages of $14 billion, making Haiyan the most expensive natural disaster in Philippines history. This is the third time in the past 12 months the Philippines have set a new record for their most expensive natural disaster in history. The record was initially set by Typhoon Bopha of December 2012, with $1.7 billion in damage; that record was beaten by the $2.2 billion in damage done by the August 2013 floods on Luzon caused by moisture associated with Typhoon Trami.

Related articles

Typhoon Haiyan death toll in Philippines estimated at 1,200: strongest storm to ever make landfall in recorded history
Tacloban Takes Direct Hit from Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)
Listening to and watching Typhoon Usagi from Hong Kong
UN releases statement about support for Philippine government in response to Typhoon Haiyan – @UN