Visualizing the Power Grid through QuickMaps

QuickMaps is a new visualization tool built into PowerSimulator for laying out System Overviews with minimal user interaction. It does this by using a force-directed graph algorithm that will properly cluster stations that are connected together and provide enough space to make information readable. Here is an example using the hypothetical Cascadia model after one click to display all stations:

From this one action you can see all of the stations are positioned in locations that easily convey the logical layout of the system. Once this is done the user can move objects at will to improve upon the layout. All connections will be maintained and any objects that are not placed manually by the user will re-position themselves appropriately as needed.

Another option is to request for each station’s location to be searched for using Google’s Geo-location Services. If there is a clear match the item will be positioned according accordingly. Here is what the previous example looks like after using Geo-Location Services:

The objective of this layout is to convey a quick understanding of the power grid’s health. This is done by showing some simple graphs embedded into the station an line information:

  • Each station is either a circle or square shape. Circles indication stations that have generators while square stations do not.
  • The stations are colored Yellow and Blue to show the relative voltage level for the station. Low voltage stations have more blue and high voltage have more yellow. As station in good shape is 50% yellow and 50% blue.
  • Along the lines are arrows to show flow direction.
  • The lines also have bar charts to show how loaded the line is, with more green meaning a higher percentage of load. A yellow section of bar indicates 100% of the line’s capacity. An overloaded line will be yellow and red with the red showing the percentage above capacity.