Wind Map is “a living portrait of of the wind currents over the U.S.”, conceived and developed as a side-project by the data visualization super-team of Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viegas, who lead Google’s Big Picture visualization research group (and before that, IBM’s Visual Communication Lab).
This beautiful, perpetually-animated online ap pulls publicly available data of surface wind speeds from the National Digital Forecast Database, which is updated hourly. The map shows the patterns created by winds ranging from 1-30 miles-per-hour. Pan and zoom functionality allows observation in fine detail.
Of the project, the artists write: “It conveys the movement of the air in the most basic way: with visual motion. As an artwork that reflects the real-world, its emotional meaning changes from day to day. On calm days it can be a soothing meditation on the environment; during hurricanes it can become ominous and frightening.”
Also be sure to check out the site’s gallery of archived map images.
More of Martin and Fernanda’s data viz collaborations can be found here.