I Like It! to Idea Quesadilla
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Quesadilla is an interactive visualization of energy flows in the United States. It incorporates historic data from 1949, projected data to 2040, and includes energy flows from energy extraction method through to sector end-use, where available. This gives users an understanding of how energy is used in the U.S., and how this changes over time. It is intended as an improvement over the static LLNL Estimated Energy Use Flowcharts (https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/), which do not show trends, or end-uses. The data for the project is freely available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (http://www.eia.gov/). Full sources are listed in the 'Quesadilla Data.xlsx' spreadsheet on our Github Page (https://github.com/mdahlhausen/quesadilla/tree/gh-pages). We did our best to smooth trends where data are not directly comparable, and appreciate any input on ways to better explain to users where such smoothing is necessary. All code is under the MIT license, so anyone is free to share, modify, or use without restriction.

Why do we call it Quesadilla? It's a cheesy name... Nick was eating a quesadilla when we were thinking of names for the project.


We're a group of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Maryland.

Submitted by in Aug 2014

Comments (9)

  1. This is by far the most intensive data visualization and the layout is very intuitive.
    in Aug 2014
  2. Good job!
    in Aug 2014
  3. This is basically a straight copycat of other people's work. It's not a new design, see link. Sorry to call out the submitter(s) but I just can't believe this is getting as many votes as it is. The design isn't new. The data isn't being utilized in a unique way. And I also don't see how it's at all useful. A useful teaching project for some college students, but not practical for any real-world application.

    in Aug 2014
    1. matthew.dahlhausen Idea Submitter
      We use open javascript libraries (bootstrap, D3 and simple-slider) and open data from EIA. All submissions uses opensource javascript libraries - and another used D3.js as well. The Bostock example is from Tom Counsell: http://2050-calculator-tool.decc.gov.uk/pathways/11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111/sankey. While we were aware of this project when we started, we wrote our own code using the d3 library to be able to show trends, because we thought that was as important as the breakdowns themselves. Sankey diagrams are of course not new. They are an excellent way to get across energy flow information (see: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/ or https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/). Much of the work on the project was parsing and combining EIA data, not the web development. It would be similarly inappropriate to call other green-button data visualize-your-energy-use tools copycats, because they show similar graphs types, as it is to call this a copycat because it uses a sankey diagram.
      in Aug 2014
  4. Excellent!
    in Aug 2014
  5. Amazing visualization for an enormous amount of data! Really great job!!
    in Sep 2014
  6. Now THAT was impressive. Nice programming too. Wouldn't it be less "Cheesy" though if people actually cared about energy enough that they actually spent a half-hour, viewed the Apps, and voted based on the merits? I think almost every vote cast for my App was done because I personally asked for it- thank you friends. Is there so little value in what we do? Perhaps that's why the DOE dropped the popular vote category down to $2,500.
    in Sep 2014
    1. matthew.dahlhausen Idea Submitter
      Thanks for the comment. It seems that Contest 2:Apps for Energy II had more traffic, but overall I agree with you that it is surprising it isn't more popular.
      in Sep 2014
  7. I love your App though. Very well done.
    in Sep 2014

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