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Proceedings Paper

Designing a better weather display
Author(s): Colin Ware; Matthew Plumlee
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Paper Abstract

The variables most commonly displayed on weather maps are atmospheric pressure, wind speed and direction, and surface temperature. But they are usually shown separately, not together on a single map. As a design exercise, we set the goal of finding out if it is possible to show all three variables (two 2D scalar fields and a 2D vector field) simultaneously such that values can be accurately read using keys for all variables, a reasonable level of detail is shown, and important meteorological features stand out clearly. Our solution involves employing three perceptual "channels", a color channel, a texture channel, and a motion channel in order to perceptually separate the variables and make them independently readable. We conducted an experiment to evaluate our new design both against a conventional solution, and against a glyph-based solution. The evaluation tested the abilities of novice subjects both to read values using a key, and to see meteorological patterns in the data. Our new scheme was superior especially in the representation of wind patterns using the motion channel, and it also performed well enough in the representation of pressure using the texture channel to suggest it as a viable design alternative.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 January 2012
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8294, Visualization and Data Analysis 2012, 829409 (24 January 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.906213
Show Author Affiliations
Colin Ware, The Univ. of New Hampshire (United States)
Matthew Plumlee, The Univ. of New Hampshire (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8294:
Visualization and Data Analysis 2012
Pak Chung Wong; David L. Kao; Ming C. Hao; Chaomei Chen; Robert Kosara; Mark A. Livingston; Jinah Park; Ian Roberts, Editor(s)

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