Google Wind Lets Kite Flyers Find Best Places to Soar
The people who've allowed us to search for the improbable, watch the incredible, share the unmentionable, and have given us, at least virtually, the Earth, Moon and stars, have now provided us the ability to see the invisible.
Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg, engineers for Google’s “Big Picture” research group just made a kite-lover's day, pulling together the enormous amount of wind-related data coming in from weather stations across America and assembling a real-time map of the wind.
Called the Wind Map, perhaps this project was one of those famous 20% time items, literally one day a week periods of time when brainiacs at the Mountain View, California-based search giant are allowed to pursue ideas not on their job description. Many great Google tools have come from the 20% time span, including their centerpiece, GMail.
I recorded a short 20 second YouTube vid of the map in action, although the currents move slower in the video than on the Wind Map site.
To navigate the Wind Map, simply begin clicking directly on your region to zoom in. Drag the map around after getting closer, and click more to zoom in and see how the winds are over your neighborhood. If things look blustery, here's instructions to make your own one-dimensional paper airship.
If only Winnie the Pooh and Piglet had Google to alert them of their blustery day...
Photo assemblage images courtesy Disney, Flickr