The JLUS land use and energy planning tool

The Southern New Mexico – El Paso, Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) project produced a web mapping application to compile geospatial data from agency partners throughout the JLUS region. The resulting map interface is designed for planners and renewable energy developers who want to identify suitability and constraints for their projects. 

The map includes three energy compatibility overlays, created as a planning aid for identifying areas most compatible for energy structures, including ground level (solar), and elevated structures (such as wind turbines and transmission tours). For further guidance, view the help information below and use the tool’s tour feature.

Explore the planning tool map

Do you have questions or comments about road blocks, events, implementation committee activities, etc? We want to hear from you.

Do you have concerns about noises from the military base in our region, such as aircraft noise, sonic booms, or artillery noise? Let us know. 

Use the application to explore land use information, including base maps, land ownership designations, state leases, and military uses.  

The map application includes a suite of layers for renewable energy planning, like tools for ground level (solar) and elevated (wind/transmission) projects.

Are you a developer working on a project in our region? Submit your project through our developer tool for JLUS input and tracking.

Need help?

Take the planning tool’s visual Tour for a guided tour of the application, or explore the tabs below for more information.

Map layers are grouped by type, and can be turned on and off by toggling the checkbox next to each layer. Groups can be opened and closed individually by clicking the group header. All groups can be opened or closed by using the ‘+ All’ button at the top.

The energy layers group includes a collection of map data related to energy development. A model was developed for calculating relative compatibility (or difficulty) levels for energy project development or tall structure projects. Map layers display the results in an intuitive green – yellow – red fashion, indicating most compatible, less compatible, and least compatible.

Data was created for three energy development project scenarios: ground level (e.g. solar or geothermal), projects with structures under 200 feet tall, and structures over 200 feet. The JLUS area contains numerous military airspace and aviation operations, so the models are highly impacted by military airspace restrictions. The ground level scenario is less impacted by airspace restrictions; thus land use, ownership, and environmental inputs have a relative greater impact.


  • Green: High Compatibility means there is likely a relative minimal likelihood of impacts and minimal prohibitions on development. Project will likely not impact military flying and other military operations. Coordination is requested to ensure there are no specific areas of concern or mitigation needs.
  • Yellow: Moderate Compatibility means there are likely some impacts and prohibitions on development. Project likely impacts military flying and other military operations. Coordination is required to ensure mitigation is not needed in the desired location.
  • Red: Low Compatibility means there is a high likelihood of very significant impacts, mitigation requirements, or prohibitions on development. A project will impact military flying and other military operations. Significant coordination amongst all parties may be required and site mitigation is likely needed. Interested parties should contact the agency point of contact as soon as possible.

Additional energy layers include solar potential (from National Renewable Energy Lab) and geothermal potential (from US Geological Survey).


Twenty-nine geospatial data sets were used as inputs for determining the Compatibility values. These data sets were collected from many sources including White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss, Holloman AFB, the state of NM, the BLM, and all the JLUS partner agencies. Data sets were then grouped into three general criteria types:

  • Military
  • Landowners
  • Environmental

Each of these three criteria types were weighted equally, so they each have a 33% impact on the total compatibility score.

Click here to download the criteria scores assigned to data set and scenario.

The Energy Project Planning ‘wizard’ allows you to evaluate the compatibility of energy development for locations on the map. You can view the compatibility layers on the map, set a location for your project, and generate a report with airspace levels and names and points of contact for areas with impacts.

Airspace obstruction layers show where there are existing tall structures such as poles, towers, and transmission lines.

The Obstruction Identification Surfaces (OIS) layer contains the “imaginary surfaces” around airports in the JLUS region. Imaginary surfaces are the areas around runways that have restrictions and limitations on structure height that penetrate the airspace for aviation operations. Each imaginary surface type has compatibility restrictions on energy project structures or ground objects. These map layers were created on the FAA Part 77 standard and they are used as criteria in the energy compatibility model.

The imaginary surface types relevant to JLUS energy tool are described below. Each surface type was assigned a compatibility score. For example, primary surfaces (runways) and runway approach surfaces are scored as a 5 (lowest compatibility). The horizontal surface exists 150 feet above the ground, so it has a high compatibility score (1) for the ground level energy scenario where structures would not penetrate the 150 ceiling. It has a score of 3 for the above 200-foot energy scenario where vertical structures could penetrate the 150 ceiling

  • Primary Surfaces:
    • ground level, runway area plus 200 feet past each end runway.
  • Horizontal Surfaces
    • 150 feet above airport elevation
    • Swinging arcs from the center of the end of the primary surface for each runway end
  • Conical Surfaces
    • Extend from edges of the horizontal surface for 4000 feet
    • Outer edge 200 feet above horizontal surface, and 350 feet above airport
    • Slope 20:1
  • Approach Surfaces (inner and out, or also called inner and horizontal)
    • Sloped surface extending out from ends of runways
    • Slope depends on type of approach. 20:1, 34:1, 50:1. Holloman AFB is 50:1.
    • Best effort possible avoid any obstacles in the approach surface
  • Transition Surfaces
    • Outward and upward from sides of runways
    • Extends from edges of primary surface
    • Slope 7:1

The comment form allows you to submit a comment or noise complaint to the JLUS committee. Submissions can be anonymous, or you can enter your email address if you wish to be contacted. To include the location of your comment or complaint, simply enable the “Select Location on Map” button and then click the approximate location on the map. This will include the location coordinates and a map link in your comment submission.

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