We’re playing around with personalized weather maps – taking raw weather data and making our own cartography style in TileMill. The idea is that anyone should be able make their own Dark Sky styled custom map to match their site or app – or just do something crazy. Having access to the raw data means that you can visualize any kind of weather event in real time, like using a psychedelic precipitation colors scale or live animation for tracking a hurricane.

We started working with Weather Decision Technologies, using their raw weather data feeds. You can see two quick maps we started playing with below. We are not sure where this design work will go yet and are just experimenting, but we could potentially open them up on MapBox.com as an add on service, so we figured we would blog about it and see what people think.

Watch Warning Alerts

alerts Watch Warning Alerts

The National Weather Service issues hundreds of different alerts on a per-county basis. We’ve grouped them into recognizable, digestible categories and associated each category of event with large graphics to make it obvious what weather is happening where. I chose strong colors for the weather over a dark, low-contrast base map to grab user attention while providing unobtrusive context. Strong, saturated colors for alerts also communicate the urgency of the alerts.


radar Low altitude radar (precipitation)

Precipitation visualizations are really common. I wanted to work with the raw data to make something richer, with custom styles without compromising speed or user experience. Style-wise I went for a radically different color ramp - from dark blue to pink to white - using high contrast to highlight where the heaviest precipitation is happening. Animation via some javascript from Tom and the MapBox Core API, not only makes it obvious where precipitation is happening, but also where it’s headed. Displaying labels on top of weather is a good cartographic practice and ensures that even when viewing dense data, users know where they are and what’s happening in their area.

If you’re interested in custom weather data on your maps, ping us on twitter @MapBox and let us know what you think would be cool. If you are using TileMill and want to play w/ some of the weather data and CartoCSS I was working with, ping me @ian_villeda.