Open source mapping and planning tool

Open source mapping and planning tool for heating and cooling

Published on: 03/09/2020

Hotmaps is an open source project supporting local, regional and national administrations in their heating and cooling planning processes. The project started in October 2016 and has been funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.


The Hotmaps project is designed as a toolbox to support public authorities, energy agencies and urban planners while developing strategic heating and cooling plans at the local, regional and national levels. The project is aligned with Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and CO2-Emission targets and is built on three main pillars. Firstly, Hotmaps is user driven. It has been developed in close collaboration with 7 European pilot areas in Ireland, the UK, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and Romania. Over 20 followers areas have also joined the project across Europe as Hotmaps cities. Secondly, Hotmaps has been designed on the principles of free and open source software and all related modules are freely available. Furthermore, there is an open dataset available to support users. Finally, the project is compatible and adaptable to all European countries by default thanks to the EU‘s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Therefore, Hotmaps will be available for cities in all European Member States in the future. However, as an open source software, users outside the EU will be able to upload their own data to the toolbox.


Built mainly using Python, Hotmaps is a geographic information system (GIS) to help European Member States plan their strategic heating and cooling. It can be used to:

  • identify the distribution of heating and cooling demand and supply;
  • point out potential sources of renewable energy to supply heating and cooling in a certain area;
  • identify potential sources of heat waste from industrial facilities;
  • estimate the potential for efficient district heating options within a selected area;  
  • develop potential scenarios for decarbonisation pathways of heating and cooling.

The Hotmaps brochure and handbook provide extensive information on strategic heating and cooling planning as well as ways in which Hotmaps can assist in these processes.

So far, the Hotmaps toolbox has been released as a beta version basic functionalities. An update with new releases is foreseen in the coming year. The datasets used in the tool can be found on GitLab and the source code is available on GitHub under a CC-BY-4.0 license.


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