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Watching the Wind

2012 August 29

By Casey J. McLaughlin

Hurricane season is upon us and Isaac has been dumping vast amounts of rain along its path.  In the Midwest we might see the rain aftermath of Hurricanes but as far as I know, we don’t have any regular Hurricane Drills.  We do, however, have Tornado Drills – quick, run to the basement!  When I think of a tornado, I think of wind, wind, and more wind. August 29, 2012

In that vane (pun intended) check out the great visualization work at  The authors created a “personal art project” with surface wind data from the National Digital Forecast Database.  I often reflect on the maps I’ve made and I think they lack a certain artistry that made me love maps in the first place – hello National Geography.  This wind map, to me, is the best of both “big” data and artistic visualization.  The web map visualization presents a tremendous amount of data in an incredibly artistic way – AND ITS ZOOMABLE?

hint.frm/wind August 29, 2012

There are many more data visualization and analysis tools available.  They may have more meaningful information but I still love the majesty of the movement.  Just as a side note, NASA has a similar visualization using surface currents.  View the youtube video here:

Casey McLaughlin is a first generation Geospatial Enthusiast who has worked with EPA since 2003 as a contractor and now as the Regional GIS Lead. He currently holds the rank of #1 GISer in EPA Region 7′s Environmental Services Division.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Charles permalink
    August 30, 2012

    the wind map makes it look like America has a hairy chest.

  2. grammaerie45 permalink
    September 2, 2012

    Your use of “vane” is not a pun, not when when written. It might be a pun if spoken, but when written you merely reveal the error of spelling and kill whatever little joke there was to begin with. Adding “pun intended” doesn’t make it so.

    • cmclau02 permalink*
      September 4, 2012

      Thanks for the comment. As new bloggers, we are certainly learning as we go. I personally struggle writing with humor and thought including the simple wordplay of using vane/vein to both mean “along the same line (vein)” and spelling it “vane” as in “weather vane” was amusing. I am working on incorporating some of my personality into posts — flaws and all!. Having two small children has created an appreciation for how complicated English can be!

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