Monday, August 22, 2011

Mapping Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene is out there providing map-making opportunities.  You will see plenty of maps in the media over the next five days as Hurricane Irene threatens Florida and the east coast of the United States.  Obviously, the hurricane is a concern for us at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, but the storm also provides relevant map-making opportunities for students.

Data in a variety of forms can be easily obtained from the National Hurricane Center webpage.  The first example shows the current track of Hurricane Irene as a Google Earth file.  Downloading the file launches it in Google Earth, if the free Google Earth software is on your computer.

In the next example, the track, including the projected track, was downloaded as a GIS file to the free

Look what city is currently in the crosshairs.

Finally, the Tropical Storm Force Wind Speed Probabilities map was downloaded as an image.

The above image can be used as shown or it can be added to the globe as an image overlay in Google Earth.  The wind map was stretched to fit over the Google Earth globe, which allows students to see the hurricane in greater geographic context.  This technique can be done with any image by using the Add>Image Overlay option.  For another example, see the Middle Earth map entry on this blog.

It is still too early to tell what type of storm we will experience in the swamp, but an umbrella will certainly be required equipment for the weekend!

No comments: