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2023 Winners, A. Kapochunas Environmental Map Award

For 2023, in consultation with the Lithuanian Cartographic Society (, I decided there were two mapmakers worthy of sharing my yearly (since 2019) 500 Euro award for a map by a resident of Lithuania illustrating an environmental problem, and a possible remediation or solution: Giedrius Motiejūnas and Neilas Žarskas.

Winner # 1: Giedrius Motiejūnas "Interactive Map of Protected Areas in Lithuania" A European Green Deal project.

Winner # 2: Neilas Žarskas "Assessment of solar energy potential of building roofs in Tauragė"

The maps described by their makers:

Giedrius Motiejūnas (GIS Specialist, Gamtos paveldo fondas/Natural Heritage Fund ) "One of the more important results of the work at the Natural Heritage Foundation has already been released to the public, so if you have any observations or ideas, we will be very much looking forward to them: is an interactive map where you can view all the protected territories of Lithuania. The map is constantly updated with data, which is important for finding the most valuable places in Lithuania where protected areas could be established. The most important thing about this map application is that every resident can suggest a protected area! Every suggestion left here can perform a miracle - save a unique corner of [Lithuanian] nature from destruction!"

The main goal of the European Green Deal project: that at least 30% of the EU's land and sea should be protected, and that 10% should be strictly protected. Currently, the area of ​ protected territory of Lithuania is less than 18%, and strictly protected reserves amount to less than 1 percent. [The percentage of protected land in the US: 13%]


Neilas Žarskas (student, Institute of Geosciences, Faculty of Chemistry and Geosciences, Vilnius University): "First, I created a digital surface model (DSM) which shows objects on the ground in Tauragė, such as buildings or trees, and their height. Then, using a DSM in ArcGIS Pro, Area Solar Radiation was calculated in a pattern which takes into account the position of the sun throughout the year (in this case 2022) and at different times of the day, obstacles that can block sunlight -- such as nearby trees or buildings -- and surface slope and orientation. After calculating solar radiation (kWh/m2) four criteria had to be considered to identify suitable building roofs for solar panel installation:

1. The slope of roofs, which couldn't be greater than 45 degrees

2. Roofs must receive at least 800 kWh/m2 solar radiation

3. The roofs must not be oriented to the north

4. The building must have more than 30 m2 suitable roof surface

"Taking into account these criteria, the model showed how much solar energy in a typical year reaches the roof surfaces of buildings in the city of Tauragė. The more solar energy is received by the roof surface, the more energy can be produced by installed solar panels. After converting the  solar radiation amount to electricity production, the solar energy potential model calculated solar panel efficiency and device performance."

Great tool for city planners and property developers/maintainers!

All my environmental map award winners, 2019-23:

1 Comment

Jan 22

Interesting and valuable data. Great that you support this work.


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