Virtual Reality for Weather Forecast Visualization

The Drought and Flood Mitigation Service (DFMS) is testing 3D visualisations to ease the understanding of the platform's complex forecasting data with spatial information.

Based on the idea of enabling farmers and decision makers to better respond to weather impacts on agriculture the DFMS platform will provide high quality and easily understandable forecasts. The platform compiles and shares frequent and localised weather and hydrological forecasts using the latest satellite and ground-based data integrated into the drought and flood models. The DFMS platform is scheduled to be released in December 2019.

The information will be displayed on an open-source, cloud-based data cube platform. The DFMS team is currently testing different visualization techniques to communicate with stakeholders. One of the visualization methods that they explored is the 3D visualization computer-generated imagery.

“We use 3D visualisations to ease the understanding of complex data with spatial information,” says Arnaud Le Cavernnec, RHEA Group’s Senior Software Architect.

As a starting point, the team created a visualization of the average temperature forecast in Uganda by district, using Datavized, a New York-based VR startup with a data visualization platform designed to display across all devices using WebVR.

“We have applied Datavized to the weather forecast, but it could also be used to visualize the architecture of a system and visualize the location of a security vulnerability or the patterns of engine cleaning as well, for instance,” he concluded.

The DFMS project is part of the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), a 5-year £152 million programme designed to partner UK space expertise with governments and organisations in emerging and developing economies around the world.

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