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Step 2: Service Maps: Research


Service Maps integrate that popularity data captured during Step 1 into the decision-making processes that are involved in designing an energy system in a structured way. That's the goal - integrate end user preference data into engineering design.

On this page:

  • How to read a Service Map

  • What are decision criteria and how to choose them (including two examples)

  • Online Service Map Tool

  • An example csv file to try with the tool


The services are placed on axes that represent key decision criteria for the project - objectives the design aims to fulfill, or constraints that need to be taken into account. The map is visual:

  • placement on an axes indicates the relative score of that service for a particular decision criterion

  • size of the service bubble indicates community popularity

  • colour of service bubble indicates how many focus groups suggested that service.

Step 2: Service Maps: Research


How well does each service align to key decision criteria that influence the design?

Decision criteria are the axes of the Service Maps. The best way to choose them is to:

  • Reflect an underlying priority of the community (e.g.: income-generation, saving time)

  • Reflect aims of the project (e.g.: economic benefit to the community, women's empowerment)

  • Reflect practical feasibility of including a service in the project

Multiple criteria can be chosen and mapped in pairs. The challenging part is to come up with a robust and accurate way to assess services against decision criteria in order to make the map. Below are two examples of criteria that can be useful in energy access projects, with examples of assessment methods previously developed (see [1]).


Near-term Economic Benefit (NTEB) can be an important criteria if the community and project want to increase income-generating potential.
This example definition makes distinctions between services which enable the production of a good or service which can be sold, or those that save money, and those that don't. It takes account of whether sale of a good or service attracts income from within the community or from external markets.
The version presented here is an adaption of Figure 3 in [1].



What services are practically feasible, and how does this trade-off with their popularity and economic benefit?
This example definition of Ease of Delivery (EOD) from [1] (Table 2) considers power requirements, infrastructure requirements, and other aspects of complexity, such as requiring trained personnel, licenses to operate, or government support/recognition. Boxes with the same shading are the same EOD category. For more detail on the definition and evaluation process, check out Section B of the paper - link below.

eod table.PNG

Choosing decision criteria: What the 'right' decision criteria are and the way they are assessed is down to the project - further refinement of assessments and development of new criteria is encouraged, and please get in touch to tell me about it!

Assessment: The assessment of the suggested services should be informed by the data gathered during the SVT (particularly Step 3, Discussion), and additional extra research as required.

Out of scope services: Some services might be out of scope for some decision criteria. For example, for Ease of Delivery, services without an electrical component might be out of scope for a project that is concerned with energy access, and so won't be part of the Service Map. See the example csv for an example of an out of scope service.

Questions, thoughts, comments? Get in touch, and if you've used or adapted the SVM, please let me know how it went!

[1] For a deeper-dive into the SVM and to read the original research, see Clements, A., Wheeler, S., Mohr, A., & McCulloch, M. (2019). The Service Value Method for Design of Energy Access Systems in the Global South. Proceedings of the IEEE, 107(9), 1941–1966.

If you can't get access to that link, a preprint version is available here.

Step 2: Service Maps: Research


Click below to go to the online mapping tool. Download the example csv at the bottom of this page to try the tool out to produce the Service Map shown here.

Step 2: Service Maps: Research


Run this example csv file through the mapping tool to produce the Service Map above.

  • The data (service name and popularity) is fabricated

  • Decision criteria scores have been approximated from author's experience

  • Watch out for one service, 'Quality Seeds', which is out of scope. It should not show up on the Service Map.

Step 2: Service Maps: Files
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