This week has seen the US experience some of the most extreme weather conditions of recent times as a Polar Vortex grips the continent.
In Atlanta (a city not known for its chilly climate), temperatures are 25 degrees below normal. In Lexington, Kentucky, a recently escaped prisoner surrendered himself to the authorities – just to get in from the cold. In Wisconsin, a meteorologist took a pot of boiling water outside and threw it into the air – it immediately turned to snow (watch the video here.)
Suddenly, we’re all glued to the TV screen, wondering if and how we’re going to be affected by the weather.
And what are we paying most attention to?
The weather maps – trying to figure how the data gathered by the Weather Bureau will impact our daily lives.
It suddenly struck me: there I was thinking that putting data on maps is a new phenomenon brought about by recent advances in technology. The reality is I’ve been exposed to data on maps since I was a kid – I just didn’t realize it!
What has changed is that today I can put my own data on a map faster that I ever could before
– and it doesn’t require paper and colored pencils.
So now when someone asks me what I do, I’ll say “Well, did you ever see a weather map? Our software does something similar. Except we let people put all kinds of data – even weather if they like – on a map: sales data, property data, demographic data… Anything that can be attached to a geographic location.”
At least I got something good out the bad weather. I hope you do too.