Traditional weather maps will show you where storms are headed, what areas have low or high pressure, or what the temperature is in various parts of the country. Some will even show you a snapshot of wind forces as it pertains to certain geographic areas.
Traditional Wind Map
But never before have we seen a map that shows you wind patterns as they are occurring in real time, until now.
The map at the very top, from Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg of Google’s “Big Picture” research group does just that. The image is a screen shot from a moving visualization of winds as data is provided across the country. In comparison, the image below it shows us the same wind pattern on a traditional wind map. Useful, but certainly not as detailed and definitely not as esthetically pleasing.
For the full effect, and to see the current weather map, go to their site – here. Check out this video to see a quick example of what the site displays.
They collect data from the National Digital Forecast Database and use it to create “near-term forecasts”, updating once per hour. In other words, what you are seeing is what is happening right now, not a daily estimation of wind speed that most forecasts maps project.
The two claim that the map is a personal art project and not affiliated with any company, but both work for Google. They even recommend viewing the map in Google Chrome. hmm.
Remember, although this is a cool art project, it is not scientific. The creators cannot guarantee that the information they get is 100% accurate, or that their newly developed software is doing its job perfectly. In other words, don’t use it to fly a plane or fight wildfires.
What you can use it for, is to get a sense of the awesome and ever changing forces that are surrounding us at all times. And it’s a pretty cool show.