Map weather using ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Living Atlas


According to the National Weather Service, a major storm is descending upon the northeast U.S. bringing freezing rain, snow, and high winds. Over 70 million people are under a winter storm warning or advisory, stretching from Georgia to Maine, with treacherous travel conditions. Areas from eastern West Virginia to southern Maine are forecast to see a foot of snowfall accumulation. In some areas, this would be more snow in one event than was seen all of last winter.

NOAA snow probability map
NOAA snow accumulation probability map

 

Make a weather map

ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World includes authoritative live feeds and other content that helps you learn more about current and predicted weather conditions. Follow these steps to make your own weather map in a minute.

Step 1 — Open Map Viewer, click Add, then Browse Living Atlas Layers.

Browse Living Atlas Layers

Step 2 — Enter “weather” in search to locate the Recent Weather Radar Imagery layer. Click (+) to add it to the map.

Search for "weather"

Tip: To learn more about any layer, click the layer title to View item details.

View item details

From the Recent Weather Radar Imagery item details we can learn that the layer is managed by NOAA, is time enabled, and covers the last 3 hours with updates at least every 10 minutes. The colors on the map represent the strength of the energy reflected back to the radar and correspond to the typical weather map that you might see.

  • Light green: light rain, or light rain aloft not reaching ground
  • Dark green: light to moderate rain
  • Yellow: moderate rain
  • Orange: heavy rain
  • Red: very heavy rain or rain and hail
  • White or blue: snow
  • Pink: freezing rain or sleet or mix of winter precipitation types

At this point, we’ve finished making our weather map (in well under a minute). However, we can continue to explore the data by enabling time. Continue with the steps below to view weather over time.

 

Enable time

Recent Weather Radar Imagery is a time-enabled layer. By default, the time animation is disabled, but you can turn it on.

Step 3 — Click the layer options (…) and click Enable Time Animation.

Enable time animation

Once enabled, a time slider will appear beneath the map with controls you can use to view and change the time animation.

  • Click Play to begin animating the map.
  • Use the sliders to manually adjust the time period that appears on the map.
  • Click Pause to pause the animation.
  • Click Previous to go back to the last data interval.
  • Click Next to advance to the next data interval.
  • To adjust the playback speed and other parameters, click Time settings.
Time animation controls

 

Other layers

There are many other ArcGIS Living Atlas weather layers that you can add to your map or use in new maps. Here’s a couple that are of particular interest.

Step 4 — Search for “weather” and locate the USA Weather Watches and Warnings layer. Click (+) to add it to the map.

Add USA Weather Watches and Warnings

Viewing the USA Weather Watches and Warnings item details, we can learn that the layer is a live data feed from the National Weather Service containing official weather warnings, watches, and advisory statements for the United States.

Step 5 — Locate the USA Weather Local Storm Reports layer. Click (+) to add it to the map.

Add USA Weather Local Storm Reports layer

From the USA Local Weather Storm Reports item details we can learn that the National Weather Service collects reports of severe weather events and weather-related damage and updates the layer at least daily.

There are other weather related maps, apps, and layers you can explore, browse Living Atlas to learn more.

 

More information

For more information, see the following:

 

 

About the author

Tech evangelist and product manager at Esri, focusing on ways to broaden access to geographic information and helping users succeed with the ArcGIS Platform.

On a good day I’m making a map, on a great day I’m on one. Follow @bernszukalski or email bszukalski@esri.com



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