Friday, August 26, 2011

Viz: Historical Hurricane Tracker

This visualization shows the paths of all the hurricanes in the North Atlantic region between 1851 and 2010. The focus is on hurricanes that made landfall on the Eastern and Southern parts of the United States. The data comes from the National Hurricane Center's North Atlantic hurricane database and the visualization allows you to filter the data in a number of ways.

The visualization consists of a map of the United States. Each colored line is a path of a hurricane and the colors are used to categorize the strength of the hurricane, on the Saffir-Simpson scale, at various places along the path. The visualization allows you to filter by strength, whether the hurricane made landfall, year and location. You can also search for hurricanes by name or by location. If you hover over a particular path, you can learn more specific information about the hurricane.

I think this visualization does a good job of presenting a lot of information in an easily accessible way. Without filtering, the data is a little overwhelming, but once you start manipulating the data with the tools, you can zero in on interesting points. The only improvement I would suggest is to possibly include hurricanes in other areas, like the South Atlantic or the Pacific or Indian oceans.

The visualization was created using Microsoft Visual Earth, currently known as Bing Maps Platform.