The VHP is a geographic information system (GIS) tool designed to assist you in locating and assessing natural stream water energy resources in the United States.
VHP uses popup windows. It will not operate properly if window popup is disabled. If you need help to enable popups in your browser, Popup Enabling in the navigation on the left side of this page provides detailed instructions.
VHP displays the locations of U.S. natural stream water energy resources and their gross power potential as determined by an analytical process. It also shows you the locations of feasible potential hydropower projects which have been determined using a set of feasibility criteria. For these potential projects, a more realistic power potential has been estimated using realistic development criteria. Context features such as cities, roads, power infrastructure, land use, etc. can be displayed to assist you in performing preliminary site assessments. VHP uses data sources not requiring a license for public display. A list of data sources is accessible by selecting the Data Sources button in the application toolbar above the application title, or in the website navigation on the left.
The location of features and the associated attribute information are for indication only. Actual on-site locations, measurements, and evaluations must be undertaken to verify information presented by VHP and assess a site’s feasibility for development. Disclaimers regarding the use of VHP are available from a link in the website navigation on the left.
VHP was developed by the Idaho National Laboratory in support of the U.S. Department of Energy Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program under contract DE-AC07-051D14517. The methods used to identify the water energy resource sites displayed by this tool and to estimate their gross potential are described in Water Energy Resources of the United States with Emphasis on Low Head/Low Power Resources, DOE/ID-11111, April 2004.
- Main Report, — 3.7MB PDF
- Appendix A — 12MB PDF
- Appendix B, Part 1 — 11MB PDF
- Appendix B, Part 2 — 11MB PDF
- Appendix C — 217KB PDF
The methods and criteria that were used to identify feasible potential hydropower projects and estimate their power potential using a set of development criteria are described in Feasibility Assessment of the Water Energy Resources of the United States for Low Power and Small Hydroelectric Plants, DOE/ID-11263.
- Main Report and Appendix A, — 4.5MB PDF
- Appendix B, Part 1, — 12MB PDF
- Appendix B, Part 2, — 10MB PDF
In addition to hydropower resource assessment data produced by INL, VHP includes resource assessment data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Hydropower Resource Assessment at Existing Reclamation Facilities ( 14MB PDF) published in March 2011.
Introduction for New Users
VHP is a GIS tool. You do not need to possess a software license to use this tool. It is being served to you from a computer at the Idaho National Laboratory. The previous VHP version was launched in November 2005. It was built using the ESRI ArcIMS platform. The current version, launched in November 2010 is built on the ESRI Arc Server platform, which provides additional features and flexibility.
The current version offers several new features:
- Four types of background map [color shaded relief (default), satellite imagery, topographic, and flat]
- Separate maps for the conterminous U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii
- Area of interest selection using the whole map without having to select a hydrologic region
- Location readout of geographic coordinates corresponding to the cursor location on the map
- Step through user interfaces for information and feature select tools
- Links to other websites providing hydropower information
The map view when the application is initiated is a color shaded relief map of the conterminous U.S. Maps of Alaska and Hawaii are displayed by selecting the icons at the left hand end of the toolbar above the map view. Alternate background maps are selected using the radio buttons at the right hand end of the toolbar above the map view.
The map will have certain basic sets of features "turned on." On the left-hand side of the VHP desktop is a legend which lists all of the available feature sets. The legend is provided in folders to allow it to be minimized. Click on a folder to see the feature sets inside.
Features are displayed by clicking on (checking) the box next to the feature set name. Below the feature set name is the symbol or symbols that are used to display these features on the map. The map view will automatically refresh each time you select or deselect a feature set.
Map Navigation Controls
The map navigation controls are located in the center of the toolbar above the map view. Each of the icons has a hover feature that will tell you the name of the control. It won’t be long before you won’t need this prompt. The map navigation controls from left to right are described below.
Thumbnail Map On/Off lets you turn the thumbnail map in the upper left corner of the map view on or off. The thumbnail map is keyed to the map view. It shows you what part of the conterminous U.S., Alaska, or Hawaii you’re looking at.
The Zoom In. Zoom-Out, Pan, and Full Extent buttons control the amount of real estate you’re looking at in the map:
- Zoom-In fills the map view with a smaller area of the map when you left click on it or with an area you select by dragging a rectangle around it.
- Zoom-Out fills the map view with a larger area of the map when you left click on it.
- Pan allows you to drag the map to expose an area that is just off the map view by holding a left click on the map while dragging it.
- Full Extent returns the map view to the full view of the conterminous U.S. or state.
Previous Extent and Next Extent let you go backwards and forwards in selecting map views you have defined with the above four map controls.
Some features are zoom controlled. That is, they only appear when you’re zoomed in to a small area. These features [e.g., National Hydrography Dataset (NHD)] are so pervasive that they will cover the whole viewing area if viewed at a larger map extent - they will be all you see.
Information and Selection Tools
The Find through Query buttons in the right hand toolbar, allow you to select features to obtain detailed information about them resulting in these features being accented on the map. The attribute data for the specific features you selected are displayed in a table at the bottom of the VHP desktop called the Information Window. The contents of this information table can be exported as a CSV file that can be opened with Excel.
There are two things about the Information and Selection Tools to keep in mind:
- The user interface for each of these tools requires the user to select a feature set of interest from a dropdown menu (the Buffer tool requires two such selections).
- Each record in the Information Window provides four options at the beginning of the list of attributes for displaying attribute information or locating the feature. From left to right they are:
- A page icon for displaying attributes in a vertical page format
- A magnifying glass icon, which will zoom the map view to the general area of the feature and mark it on the map with a pushpin
- An icon to clear the automatically inserted pushpin from the zoom to described in (b)
- A pushpin icon that toggles a pushpin on and off at the feature location.
Here is a brief description of these tools:
- Find - returns attributes in the Information Window of features belonging to the chosen feature set having the user supplied word in the feature name
- Identify - returns attributes in the Information Window of features belonging to the chosen feature set selected one at a time with the cursor or as a group selected by dragging a rectangle around them by holding a left click
- Distance - returns attributes in the Information Window of features belonging to the chosen feature set within a user defined distance of a user selected point on the map
- Buffer - returns attributes in the Information Window of features belonging to the chosen feature set within a user defined distance (buffer) of a user selected feature or group of features of the same type
- Query - returns attributes in the Information Window of features belonging to the chosen feature set based on a user composed logic statement consisting of feature attributes and their algebraic relationship to a user input values
There are three additional tools in the right hand toolbar:
- Measure allows you to measure distances or areas on the map. The distance readout in the Measure popup window shows the distance between two points you select (Segment) and the cumulative distance (Total) if you selection more than two points ending in a double click. The area option of the tool returns the area and circumference of an area on the map you define by multiple clicks ending in a double click. The units of distances, areas, and circumferences are selectable from dropdown menus in the tool popup window.
- Insert Pin allows you to insert pins of various types (pin type selected from the dropdown menu) in the map to mark features or locations of interest and clear them individually or all at once.
- Clear All removes all pins and clears all highlighted features from the map view.
There are three icons in a toolbar above the application title, Data Sources, Print, and Links.
- Data Sources opens a popup window containing a table of the sources of data for each feature set that can be displayed in the map view.
- Print takes you to a form to specify the elements of a printable map image. You can print any map in the map view with or without a title and with or without a legend. You can also copy and paste the map image and legend into an electronic document or slide.
- Links opens a popup window containing a table of links to websites containing useful information about various aspects of hydropower.
Hope this helps getting you started. Good luck prospecting. The country’s natural stream water energy resources are at your finger tips!
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