Ventusky – Wind, Rain, and Temperature Maps

Ventusky is a weather visualization platform developed by ImMeteo, a Czech meteorological company who focuses on weather prediction and meteorological data visualization.

Figure 1 Ventusky interface

Ventusky presents worldwide weather maps including wind, rain, temperature, air pressure, etc (Figure 1). It has weather data of the past week and can play the timeline as a progress bar to show the weather change. Ventusky supports users looking up for cities/provinces and provides them with detailed information (current weather, weather forecast, sun and moon info, etc) about the cities/provinces (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Detailed weather information about Boston in Ventusky

Audience of Ventusky can be anyone who is interested in knowing the weather information (current or past) in some places. They can be passengers of flights or backpackers checking the weather in destinations, residents who wish to know the affected area of snowstorm, or even researchers who want to see the current weather or recent weather change.

In my view, Ventusky aims to provide users with up-to-date worldwide weather information through an intuitive map interface. It serves as a platform for users to look at current weather, weather change, and weather forecast in a visualization method but not the conventional way – reading text. By providing multiple features (temperature, air pressure, clouds, etc) that can be integrated in the visualization, it also fits users’ need to look at various weather features in one interface.

In fact, the first wind map I saw is not Ventusky, but this one below (Figure 3). The wind map in Figure 3 is concise, beautiful, and does a good job in presenting flow animation, but not as effective as the Ventusky one. Ventusky not only displays wind map but also other weather features such as temperature and clouds, the combination of which makes the visualization more informative. Moreover, the detailed information such as weather forecast for specific cities/provinces not only makes it helpful to a wider range of audience but also makes sure Ventusky has the value to be revisited by users. Last but not least, the history weather data and play-timeline function also add value to Ventusky.

Figure 3 Another Wind Map

In terms of meteorological data, maps are good presentations since they provide an intuitive view by allowing users to see weathers of different places at one time. Compared to printed map, online maps also do a better job in providing interactive interfaces and allowing zoom-in/out for detail checking. In that way, Ventusky seems to be an effective platform for weather visualization.

However, I feel the color map is a little difficult to read in some circumstances. For instance, when selecting temperature as a feature, the colors for -10°F and 80°F look similar in the map, making some area in Canada and Mexico in almost same color. Another thing may be interesting to consider is whether it’s possible for users to select any two features they are interested in to present in the interface. Currently one feature is fixed to wind and users can change the other feature.