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Live Map Shows Wind Flowing Over the U.S.

Check the wind forecast in Capitola and Soquel with this live map designed as a piece of art to highlight areas of high wind speed.

Wind Map by artists Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg
Wind Map by artists Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg




Written by Christa Bigue

Two artists working with Google's "Big Picture" data visualization group have created a living portrait of wind blowing all over the United States.

By using surface wind data from the National Digital Forecast Database — used by the National Weather Service to display, analyze, and compare digital forecast products for the entire country — Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg capture near-term wind forecasts, revised once per hour, in a live map that can be viewed online. 

The wind map is a personal art project, not associated with any company, and shows the beauty of what can happen when art, science and media intersect.

On their website, the artists write: “We've done our best to make this as accurate as possible, but can't make any guarantees about the correctness of the data or our software. Please do not use the map or its data to fly a plane, sail a boat, or fight wildfires :-)”

Still, it gives viewers an idea of the delicate tracery and pace of wind — and its incredible energy — flowing over the U.S.

Zoom in on the Monterey Bay for a more detailed view of what the wind forecast is for the Capitola-Soquel area. For those chasing top wind speed, note that maximum speed may occur over lakes or just offshore.

Click here to see the map. If the map is missing or seems slow, the creators recommend the latest Chrome browser. 

Still visualizations of the wind map are also captured by the artists from the real-time data and exported at the highest possible resolution to create museum quality giclée art prints available for purchase. Interpolation algorithms are used in order to preserve the original line forms. The images are then reproduced at true 2880 resolution. A card signed and numbered by the artists accompanies each print.

If you're looking for a weather map, or just want more detail on the weather today, see these more traditional maps of temperature and wind

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