Coolest Map Ever. Wind Energy Visualized.

March 30, 2012


Fernanda B. Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, founders of Many Eyes, have created one of the coolest maps I’ve ever seen — it looks like a living Vincent van Gogh masterpiece. (Makes me think van Gogh was able to see the wind.)

You can see a still of the map above, but you have to check out the (nearly) live wind map to get the full effect.

Martin and Fernanda work for Google, and the wind visualization map works best in Google Chrome (which you should be using anyway!). However, the creators note that the map is just a personal art project and not associated with any companies. More from Viégas and Wattenberg:

Surface wind data comes from the National Digital Forecast Database. These are near-term forecasts, updated once per hour. So what you’re seeing is close to live data. (See the NDFD site for precise details; our timestamp shows time of download.) And for those of you chasing top wind speed, note that maximum speed may occur over lakes or just offshore.

An invisible, ancient source of energy surrounds us—energy that powered the first explorations of the world, and that may be a key to the future.

This map shows you the delicate tracery of wind flowing over the US….

We’d be interested in displaying data for other areas; if you know of a source of detailed live wind data for other regions, or the entire globe, please let us know

More on wind energy soon – I’ve been working on a major wind-themed project. For now, if you haven’t seen my first wind video from a little while back, its below:


6 Responses to “Coolest Map Ever. Wind Energy Visualized.”

  1. mrsircharles Says:

    Good article.

    But I have to object “Google Chrome (which you should be using anyway!)”. Since Google has become a quasi monopolist there support = zero. Therefore they’re gathering more and more information about you. What once started with good attitudes has turned into a giant monopolist who doesn’t give a dime about the users any more.

    I’m using Firefox.

  2. neilrieck Says:

    This map isn’t too bad either:

    Notice that the majority of red + blue is close to water.

  3. guylacrosse Says:

    I’m using Chrome. Google isn’t perfect, but their browser works pretty well. I also use MS Office and Microsoft is far worse than Google at trying to monopolize.

    Anyway, that is a pretty cool map. It almost looks like you can see a vortex over Texas. I wonder if that is why they are in a drought; the wind patterns.

  4. Alteredstory Says:

    Any idea what the elevation is supposed to be for the measurements/approximations?

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