The 5 Awesome Things the Best Weather Maps Have

Weather maps aren’t something you just see on the news anymore. Each day, more and more organizations are recognizing the importance of accessing weather maps for themselves. The ability to track weather systems is invaluable for decision-makers in various industries, like education, transportation, aviation, mining, and more.

The good news: There are a lot of different weather maps out there.

There’s some bad news though:  Not all weather maps are created equal.

Keep reading to learn what you should look for in your next weather map to be best prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

If you’re stuck here and don’t want to read on because the best weather maps cost money, take a read through our free vs. commercial weather data and see what the differences are.
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1. Real-time Data

It’s great to know what the forecast is, right? But trust us, the forecast can change a lot. Take Hurricane Irma, for example. Most models had the storm tracking over Miami and eastern Florida thanks to a system coming from the gulf. That system was supposed to push the storm east. However, the timing wasn’t perfect and there was nothing to push Irma east. Instead, she hit western Florida and the Keys hard, and residents only had about 24 hours to prepare.

Thankfully, Floridians are seasoned hurricane experts, so most people on the west coast we’re also ready. But this is just one example of how quickly weather conditions can change during severe weather events. Having real-time information means knowing up to the minute conditions and observing those changes for yourself.

You don’t want to know what the weather man said about today’s forecast on this morning’s news, right? You want to know what it’s doing at your locations of operations right now. That’s why all the best weather maps have real-time data. The data on our Sferic Maps weather visualization software refreshes every two minutes – Talk about real time.

2. Hyperlocal Network

Look at all of those stations!

The second thing that all the best weather maps have are hyperlocal conditions. Look, it’s great to know what the weather is like at the nearest airport… if you are the nearest airport. If not, you need to know what the weather conditions are at your exact location(s). This is because weather conditions can vary greatly even in the same community. For example, in rural and mountainous areas like Newry, Maine, the temperature and wind chill might be a lot different atop Sunday River Ski Resort than they are down in town.

That’s why it’s best to trust a weather map that relies on a networks of hyperlocal weather stations. So you get data from where you want it and (with real-time data) when you want it as well. Sounds like a win-win, right?

Earth Networks, for example, has a network of over 10,000 weather stations and 1,200 lightning sensors. That means most areas are covered. Not to mention our convective radar alternative, Pulserad, also accurately shows precipitation for areas that conventional radar simply can’t cover. If there isn’t a weather station close enough for your liking, you can always install one on your organization’s property and become a source of trusted weather information for your entire community.

3. Dozens of Layers

The third thing you’re going to need in your weather map is enough weather data layers. A pretty map with real-time, hyperlocal data is great (and hard to find) but if it only provides datasets like temperature and rain rate, you’re really missing out.

Why? There are dozens of weather data points out there that are critical to making weather-based decisions. For example, lightning data is a critical indicator of severe weather. Did you know that cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, the type most people think of when they hear the word “lightning,” only account for approximately 20% of all lightning strikes? The other ~80% of strikes are in-cloud. While these strikes pose no direct threat to people or infrastructure, they are a precursor to other forms of severe weather. That could mean deadly cloud-to-ground strikes, or other non-lightning related conditions like hail, microbursts, and heavy rains.

That’s why Sferic Maps not only includes over 18 current observations, but 8 different radar and satellite options, 19 severe weather alert types, 4 tropical layers, and a suite of National Weather Service alerts. Of course, these layers include a handful dedicated solely to lightning. Not to mention, you can add your own locations and even customized layers. Let’s learn about why customized layers are an important aspect of any weather map.

4. Customized Layers

What’s the big deal about custom layers? Well, it’s all about what you make of it. We offer custom layers so that organizations can see everything they need to make decisions all in the same place.

For example, a utility company could upload their electrical infrastructure to Sferic Maps so they can see that along with the weather layers that matter to them most, like high winds, lightning strikes, and snowfall and ice probabilities. Our customers say it helps to see everything in one place – and that makes sense. We hate switching back and forth between pages when critical weather-related decisions have to be made.

5. Collaboration Capabilities

The last feature the greatest weather maps on the market today all have is the ability to collaborate. Now, for some companies, collaboration tools might not be that important. But, if you have multiple locations, decision-makers, or have the need to communicate weather data to stakeholders in any way, you’ll definitely want to have a system that makes that easier.

For example, our weather allows you to broadcast your screen, with whatever layers and drawings you’d like, in real-time to other users. You can also set up slideshows to broadcast to other locations that go through your different locations.

Give Weather Maps A Try

Can you think of anything else that would make weather maps more useful? Let us know in the comments below.

Do you think a weather map could enhance your weather-related decision making? Well, obviously, it can! Try it out for yourself with a free trial of Sferic Maps – The latest in weather map technology from Earth Networks.

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