Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Weather, GIS Viewers, and Data

With hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and hot weather upon us, weather and GIS are now as important as ever.  Fortunately, there are a number of online sources of open source meterological data and GIS viewers.  In addition, there are servers and databases that can be tapped into for continously updated of information.

NowCoast is a free real-time web mapping portal to information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The web mapping application is good and there are plenty of layers to choose from.  There are even WMS servers to tap into here: http://nowcoast.noaa.gov/help/mapservices.shtml?name=mapservices.  The National Weather Service (NWS), whose parent agency is NOAA, also has a page separated by filetype: shapefiles, KML/KMZs, and web services. A screenshot of nowCOAST appears below.

It is also worth mentioning that the NWS is in the process of upgrading its website which you can check out here: http://preview.weather.gov/

The Weather Underground's WunderMap, also free, provides a number of features and layers.

Intellicast also has an interactive weather map. Many weather websites also offer low cost subscription plans that upgrade the amount of features, data, and maps you can visualize.  Some sites are fee-based, but also provide free trials.

If you are more interested in climate and long-term trends be sure to check out the National Climate Data Centers (NCDC) Interactive Data Online Page.  Other resources are your local or state meterologist office, often affiliated with a university.

In addition, a number of very low cost and free mobile weather and radar apps are also available for Android and iOS devices.  Lastly, if you are not satisfied with your current weather website, check out this listing of 150 weather sites for North America.

Update #1: Be sure to check out this recent blog post on the NWS Enhanced data viewer:
http://opensourcegisblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/be-weather-readythe-open-source-way.html

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