Show & Tell: wind map

Wind Map

‘wind map’ is a neat little art/data project that I stumbled upon when AU Alum Nick O’Neill posted about it on his facebook page.

To get to the point what ‘wind map’ shows you is a living portrait of surface wind data displayed on a map of the U.S. that is coming directly from the National Digital Forecast Database.  Data is updated by the hour & and the time that the data is pulled is located in the top left corner of the webpage.  Also provided are the top & average speeds followed by a visual key depicting the levels of mph.

By first impression ‘wind map’ is no doubt intriguing & eye-catching.  Watching the display of wind speed was never something I considered as possible or even useful; and to be honest never really thought about at all.  However there is potential use for this type of tool albeit playful.

When I first saw 'wind map' it reminded me of those desk sand pictures that people used to have


Looking deeper into ‘wind map’ other uses or functions appear.  For example the entire map itself is interactive.

  • You can click & drag to view around the map
  • You can hover over points of the map to get specific data for that point
  • You can double click areas of the map to zoom in
  • From there you can click Unzoom and start all over again
'wind map' more interesting than this guy


However one of the most applicable parts of the site to our class is somewhat hidden away.  Just to the left of the paragraph description is a link called ‘Gallery’ with a preview of four different U.S. maps.  Clicking on the link will bring you to a page displaying snapshots of each of the last couple days.

The static visual display of the past days wind cycles I found probably more interesting than the live feed.  ‘wind map’ turned science, into history, then into art.  From here you can click on any particular day that you wish to view the living portrait of that days wind cycle.




One Reply to “Show & Tell: wind map”

  1. While this creeps me out slightly because it looks like one of those fast-fowarded “hair and nails of a corpse growing out” scenes that used to be popular on shows like Tales from the Crypt, I think you’re correct in your suggestion that it effectively turns scientific data into art. I don’t know if I would want to hang it in a digital frame on my wall though. As an example of creative data visualization, I think it is definitely a unique construction. Visual communication is a growing trend in my field right now as the ecology of Internet and mobile technologies have reduced our cultural emphasis on text. The ability to innovate novel ways of expressing textual and numeric information in visual forms, like this site does, seems to be a desirable skill set to have and it would be interesting to see what else they come up with.

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