Helping Business Weather the Storm

iMap from Weather Decision Technologies Relays World's First Live Broadcast of Geo-referenced Tornadoes Using Google Maps

by Daphne Thompson, on May 19, 2009 2:15:34 PM

Streaming videos captured by storm chasers from the field feature dramatic footage.

Norman, OK, May 19, 2009 --( This tornado season, WDT was the first ever to bring live streaming videos captured by storm chasers from the field, using real time GPS/streaming video, all geo-referenced within an interactive platform. The first tornado was recorded by Verne Carlson, on March 7 2009, in Hutchinson, Kansas, followed by video streams of sightings by Paul Austin on April 10, in Cusseta, Georgia, and David Drummond and Ben Holcomb on April 29, in Cedar Hill, Texas, of the network. The tornado videos were all relayed live over streaming video onto WDT's iMap® interactive weather map platform, built using the Google Maps application program interface (API).

Building on this momentum, broadcast news companies are leveraging their relationship with the iMap interactive weather mapping technology on their websites to provide live coverage of tornadoes and other hazardous weather phenomena across the United States. The iMapTracker allows users to follow and explore severe weather and tornadic activity across the United States, by tracking chaser vehicles from (TVN) which includes some of the country's best and most experienced storm chasers. WDT's iMapTracker will provide live transmissions from moving vehicles as they track severe storms, live streaming video online, and real-time Twitter feeds @ iMapTracker.

Broadcast meteorologists are also able to step television viewers through every aspect of the tornadoes being witnessed by TVN's chaser network via WDT's iMapLive! on-air presentation tool. "WDT has become the world's largest provider of tiles from the Google Maps flash application through its powerful interactive mapping application," said Mike Pegg, product marketing, Google Maps API. "This is a "first" for live geo-referenced broadcasting. We look forward to seeing more tornadoes broadcast live over Google Maps."

"Last month we broadcast the world's first real-time streaming tornado footage live onto a Google map," said Mike Eilts, president and CEO of WDT. "Extreme weather videos are truly addictive viewing. We look forward to streaming other real-time weather events in the future, such as hurricanes, ice storms, forest fires, and other major events to global audiences, everywhere."

The live video footage, made possible through storm chasing vehicles equipped with GPS devices and video cameras linked to the Internet, feature the real-time adventures of Reed Timmer and Sean Casey from Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers, as they began filming the upcoming fall season of the popular TV show. Viewers will be able to track their locations, as well as other first class chasers while also getting up-to-the-minute weather information through WDT's proprietary iMapTracker application.

On the interactive map, viewers can click on the vehicle icons to open a window that displays live video (when available), pictures and vehicle location data from the storm chaser teams in the field. Controls in the upper left hand side of the screen allow viewers to control a range of options, including zoom and view preference., the largest live video site on the Web, is providing the live streaming technology that will make it possible to view the storm chasing activities as they happen.

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