Whether we like it or complain about it, bask in it or suffer from it, we all are affected by the weather. This essential truth becomes readily apparent when viewing Earth, the work of software engineer Cameron Beccario.
Using data from the Global Forecast System, Earth visualizes worldwide weather patterns using animated wind streams, color coded according to velocity, that sweep across a three-dimensional globe. Truly interactive, the visualization allows the user to spin the globe and zoom in on a desired location. Tapping on that location will then bring up further information about exact coordinates, wind speed, and temperature, with all information updated every three hours.
The world itself may be seen from different perspectives, as the visualization offers nine different projections, such as conic equidistant, stereographic, or Waterman Butterfly. When Earth was first introduced in December 2013, it only visualized wind patterns. Since then, however, Beccario has increased the number of overlays to include such factors as carbon monoxide concentration, dust and sulfate extinction, along with the measured temperature. Earth also shows the perceived temperature which Beccario calls the Misery Index, borrowing a term from economics. Explore the full functionality at http://earth.nullschool.net.
Beccario, Cameron. 2016. Earth. Courtesy of earth.nullschool.net. In “11th Iteration (2016): Macroscopes for Interacting with Science,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Lisel Record. http://scimaps.org.
Beccario, Cameron. 2016. Earth Website. Accessed January 10, 2016. earth.nullschool.net/about.
Oremus, Will. 2013. “Mesmerizing Map Shows Which Way the World’s Winds Are Blowing.” Future Tense. Last modified December 18, 2013. http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/12/18/global_wind_map_cameron_baccario_s_visualization_of_world_weather_patterns.html.
- What is a Science Map?
- What is a Macroscope?
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Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.