I was watching the weather channel the other day (because I apparently have that kind of time) and noticed how the image presented incorporated a lot of the design elements that we have discusses lately. Watching the storm tracker, the entire screen is framed by my TV set. Within that frame is another frame which contains a box to show the area of the world we are viewing. The image shown uses color to represent the type to geographic landscape. For example, green is used for forested or relatively flat terrain, while brown us used for mountainous terrain. Layers have a strong presence here. The bottom most layer would be a map of the United States and the ocean. Super imposed over that is a layer showing topography and lines dividing up the individual states. Imposed over this layer is the images of storms and their movements. My showing all of these layers, we can see how the terrain is affecting the movement of the storms as they accumulate, disperse, and traverse the country.
Even when the map zooms out and shows the globe, a grid divides the map and the storm systems by latitude and longitude. Withing each section of the grid is essentially a module, so we can measure the speed and size of a storm system. It is easier to measure by module or at least to comprehend rather than do it by sight in a close up view. Over the ocean this would be particularly difficult to do since it is all blue and does not have any specific topographic identifiers except for lighter shades of blue near the land. Working together, this mixture or layers, colors, grids, and modules is able to help us understand the weather. I guess this is a good example of data layers and how much they can show without the audience having to heavily think about it.
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