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Wind site offers look at what we cannot see

April 3, 2012 - Art Smith

It’s tough sometimes to visualize what one cannot see. Wind is one example. We see it by seeing the effects it has, blown leaves, waving flags, waves in the river. Two software engineers have taken billions of bits of data about wind and turned them into a beautiful example of how to take complex information and turn it into a stunning representation.

Showing all the wind movement nationwide, in real time, the map at http://hint.fm/wind/index.html is incredibly easy to understand and remarkable to watch.

It shows the strong wind currents in the nation’s mid section, flowing down from Canada and north from the Gulf of Mexico. If you have ever wonder why the Great Plains are dotted by wind farms and the Ohio Valley is not, the map explains it very well. We simply do not have as much wind as the other parts of the country.

There are a lot of websites that help people understand complex subjects by showing users visual representations of the data. This simple black and white page by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg is a great example of how we can use the web to understand what is going on around us.

 
 

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