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Mapping

Interactive map tells weather forecast entirely in emojis

Today's weather: smiley with a chance of umbrellas

  • Aug 09, 2017
  • 366 words
  • 2 minutes
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Emojis are a universal language, and the day-to-day weather is a universal consideration, so it was only a matter of time before someone put the two together and created a weather map that tells the forecast entirely in emojis

Created by Dark Sky, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup that specializes in ultra-local weather prediction, the purpose of the map is to present complex phenomena in a highly visual, easy-to-understand format — and have a little fun. 

“Conventional weather maps tend to focus on just one, or a small number, of the many possible weather conditions. This limits their ability to convey complex information,” explains Dark Sky developer Adam Grossman in a blog post. “The Emoji map, by contrast, gives a fully complete and detailed analysis of everything happening on both a global and local scale. It is also the first weather map to utilize an anthropomorphic representation of human feces.” (The famous ‘smiling poo’ emoji appears when the current or forecast conditions at a given location are truly terrible.)

The map is relatively straightforward to interpret, although it does make some fairly sweeping assumptions about peoples’ preferred weather conditions: sunny, warm conditions are represented by smiling faces, some with rosy cheeks, while colder temperatures are represented by “meh” or even grimacing faces. It also probably shouldn’t be taken as an accurate representation of hazardous weather; for instance, here’s how Tropical Storm Franklin, which is poised to make landfall in Mexico Wednesday night, appears on the map: 

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Left: A visible satellite image of Tropical Storm Franklin in the Gulf of Mexico; right: The storm as portrayed on Dark Sky’s Emoji Map. (Images: NOAA/Dark Sky) 

Still, if you’re just looking for a snapshot of the current conditions in a given area and don’t feel like fretting over what the POP really means, it doesn’t get much more simple and direct than an umbrella icon. And there’s something oddly comforting about seeing the entire world as a grid of smiling faces. 

As Grossman’s blog optimistically concludes: “Can an emoji weather map solve our national and global communication issues and make Planet Earth a better place in which to live? We believe it can.” 

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