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An application that maps and provides information about U.S. landfills
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Landfill Database

Landfill Database is a web app created by Anna Kiefer which is used to search for and display information about landfill sites. Integration of the Google Maps API displays landfill locations across the United States. National and local landfill information is represented using several data visuals, including a pie, doughnut, and bubble chart. A landfill gas-to-energy converter displays the Megawatts produced and homes powered for a given landfill's waste in place. Finally, users can update the database by submitting a report form.

Learn more about the developer here.


Technologies Used



  • Google Map displays open U.S. landfill sites
  • Search function returns the site closest to the user's zipcode
  • Result rendered as a pie and doughnut chart (Chart.js)
  • Flask app renders HTML and handles AJAX requests to the database
  • Aggregation data rendered as a bubble chart (Plotly.js)
  • Report data form uses Parsley for form validation
  • Flask app and database deployed using Heroku


  • Sites returned cached in Flask-Cache

Search Function

Landfill Database employs the use of a haversine function to calculate the landfill closest to the user's zip code.

A haversine formula at its core gives the distance between two points on a sphere. When a user enters a zip code in the database, a query returns the latitude and longitude of that zip code. The zipcode's latitude and longitude, along with the latitude and longitude of a landfill site, is passed into the function to calculate the shortest distance over the Earth's surface between the two points. This repeats for each site, returning the site with the smallest distance.

Data Visualizations

The data visualizations generated on Landfill Database use the graphing libraries Chart.js and Plotly.js. The doughnut chart that appears upon clicking the infowindow of a landfill shows the amount of waste in place and remaining space for a landfill. The pie chart shows the percent of the total U.S. waste in place that particular landfill accounts for. It is worth noting that the percent of a particular landfill against the total U.S. waste may be so small as to not appear on the chart.

The National Landfill Data uses Chart.js to display an aggregation of the waste in place and remaining space for the U.S. landifll sites. The line graph displays the generation by waste type from 1960 to 2010.

The Landfill Capacity by Region graph was created using Plotly.js. The plot graphs the waste in place, the year that waste in place was measured, and the capacity for open U.S. landfill sites by region.

Gas to Energy Converter

The landfill gas to energy feature converts the amount of waste in place in tons of the returned landfill to the average cubic feet of landfill gas produced, Megawatts of energy generated, and number of homes powered. One million tons of municipal solid waste results in approximately 432,000 cubic feet of LFG and .78 Megawatts of electricity.


The landfill site data is from the EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program, and can be found here. Other available government data sources can be found at EPA's Developer Central here.

For an Easter Egg, type the word vortex into the zip code field to find the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

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