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LiDAR data visualization showing how points are used to construct a 3-D model of New York City.

City University of New York (CUNY) created the New York City Solar Map, an nteractive online tool that will allow users to estimate solar energy potential for any building in the city. The map also will highlight existing solar installations; display real-time solar energy production citywide; and allow users to estimate the costs, incentives and payback period for solar investments.

Sustainable CUNY, via its partnership with New York City, is using light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data to create the Solar Map. The data are being used to build a detailed model of the city, including building rooftops, footprints and tree shading. This model is the basis for estimating the amount of solar energy that falls on each square meter of the five boroughs and determining the solar energy potential for every building citywide. The Solar Map is being developed by the Center for Advanced Research of Spatial Information (CARSI) at CUNY’s Hunter College with data collected in April of 2010 by Sanborn Map Company.

As the nation's largest urban university, CUNY plays a transformational role in New York City’s sustainable future with an educational footprint that spans 23 academic institutions and more than half a million students, faculty and staff. CUNY is dedicated to integrating sustainability into the university and the surrounding metropolitan area through its curriculum, policy work, research, retrofitting, capital projects, workforce development and economic development activities.

Image courtesy of CUNY.

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