Want to see which way the wind is blowing, all across America? An amazing new real-time, animated map of the country’s wind resources has got your back.
The map, launched online at Hint.fm in late March, shows “the delicate tracery of wind” across the contintental U.S. — with coursing lines gray lines representing the wind’s direction, shaded according to speed. The map is even zoomable, for a more local view.
It relies on data from the National Digital Forecast Database maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The simply titled “wind map,” was created by the data programming wizards Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, the founders of Hint.fm and the leaders of Google’s “Big Picture” visualization research group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a division designed to make big data more friendly on the eyes, and thus, useful.
Watch the first day’s worth of wind in a hypnotic wind map video.
But the wind map wasn’t created as a Google project. As Viégas and Wattenberg note in their disclaimer underneath the map: “The wind map is a personal art project, not associated with any company.”
Also, in a cautionary statement: “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 :-)”
The duo reached TPM via email to explain more about the inspiration for their mesmerizing project. As Viégas and Wattenberg wrote:
We created the wind map as an homage to the beauty and power of the wind. We had the idea in the winter months, when the weather was much on our mind. In our artistic practice we seek to reveal the invisible forces that surround us—and what better example than the wind?
It’s remains to be seen whether the map will be used in any practical application, but the American Wind Energy Association, a lobbying organization for the wind industry, for one, is a fan, tweeting a link to the map and writing: “new wind map might literally “blow” your mind!”