July 28

How to Create Stunning Weather Data Visualizations with the AerisWeather Mapping Platform (AMP)

A common question received regarding the AerisWeather Mapping Platform (AMP) is “How can I customize my weather layers?” There are several features you can take advantage of to create eye-popping weather data visualizations based on your unique challenges and needs. In this article, we will highlight AMP’s most basic modifiers and tools, how to use them, and how they can help create user-friendly and informative combinations of weather overlays. The following features are available to all AMP subscribers.

Opacity

AerisWeather offers a variety of map layers from radar to severe weather alerts, in the USA, Canada, and Europe, which can be added in any combination, but displaying too many at once can be confusing or create ambiguity of critical map detail below layers. By changing the opacity of particular layers, you can quickly display multiple layers with softened color pallets draw attention to the primary layer of interest. Simply denote the opacity (layer transparency) of a layer as follows: layerName:opacity level (eg. radar:80). Opacity must be passed as an integer between 0 and 100.

An example of alerts at 65% opacity and radar at 65% opacity allowing for readable place names with radar unobscured as the top layer.

AerisWeather supports utilizing the opacity modifier in multiple layers at once. As you’ll note in the above example, we’ve modified our alerts layer to not obscure the 3rd party base map’s built in boundaries and softened the radar to allow easy distinction of the alert boundaries.

HSLA

Modern digital graphics often rely on HSLA (Hue, Saturation, Lightness, Alpha) over RGB (a common web format) or CMYK (popular with the design and printing industry) color notation formats. We embrace this versatile modifier for our weather map layers, giving users full control over how icons and other data visualizations appear against the base map of your choice. For example, below we are utilizing HSLA to change lightning strikes from default white to red, to help them stand out in front of a busy background.

Before (white):

After (red):

The red lightning in the above example requires the following parameters: lightning-strikes-icons:invert():scale-hsla(0,0,1,0,0.5,0,0,1).

Full details on how to use HSLA to customize weather data in AMP are available in the Scale HSLA documentation.

Blend

Where opacity allows you to add transparency to a layer, the Blend modifier takes it one step further by allowing you to combine a source layer with a destination layer. With 29 different blend modes available, we encourage you to visit the Blend modifier documentation for more niche operations.

One common use of this functionality is to add texture generated from a terrain map to a temperature map by using blend(overlay), as we’ll demonstrate below. Here is a URL and map example:

https://maps.aerisapi.com/CLIENTID_SECRETKEY/terrain,wind-speeds:blend(overlay),water-depth/1000×1000/54.4061,-4.4824,6/current.png

Map Builder

Bringing it all together, you’ll find a handy tool called Map Builder within your AerisWeather account dashboard. This easy to use weather map maker allows efficient editing of your map in real time, with drag and drop functionality. Reorder layers on the fly, control modifiers like Blend and Opacity, and dynamically generate a link for the perfect visualization.

How To Create Stunning Weather Data Visualizations with the AerisWeather Mapping Platform (AMP) 1

The AerisWeather Map Builder takes the guesswork out of visualizing weather data.

Not using AMP yet but like what you see? Sign up for a free, 30-day trial today!

Looking for weather data in a different format? Contact our Sales team to learn more about our weather API.

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