It’s easier to see the detail of Simon King’s striped tie than it is to check if its raining in Aberystwyth!

Figure 1 – Courtesy of the BBC

You would have thought that most people could point on a map where they were at any particular point in time? There be some who may have to open their smart phones, turn on GPS,and then consult Google map before they can do this, but I would hope for the majority of people it’s not a problem.

The problem with place names

So why in the new BBC graphics are the place-name labels for the fourteen town’s and cities across the UK so prominent (fig 1)? In fact why do we need them these place-name labels at all?

Figure 2 – Courtesy of the BBC

This is how it used to look before the introduction of the new graphics (fig 2). The difference is that although they still used place names, they only showed nine and not fourteen, and the labels didn’t have a navy blue background set to 10% opacity as they do now. A simple solution to the problem might be to configure the new graphics to dissolve the place names after a certain number of seconds to reveal what lies beneath?

What happened to fly-throughs?

The whole problem seems to have been made worst because they now seem to have stopped doing fly-through animations around the country as they did in the old graphics. These animations did at least did give you more detail of the weather where you live. Perhaps this is what a national weather forecast should have always looked like, and so we’d better get used to it or else use the local BBC forecast, which unfortunately are just as static as the national one.

I’m sure the new graphics engine is capable of doing it, because they use fly-throughs in their North Atlantic synoptic chart to zoom back to the UK. I hate to say it but the Met Office have got fly-though animations down to a T in their weather forecasts (fig 2).

Figure 3 – Courtesy of the Met Office

If it wasn’t for the projection issue, which is admittedly lessened by the use of fly-throughs, I would say that the Met Office have the edge on the BBC. Perhaps it’s just a training issue at the BBC but I don’t think so. The current BBC weather forecast is so short they don’t seem to have time to make use of fly-throughs. But the fact remains, with static charts and place labels, it’s easier to see the detail on Simon King’s striped tie than it is to check if its raining in Aberystwyth!

Author: xmetman

An ex-metman passionate about all things to do with weather, climate and clouds

8 thoughts on “It’s easier to see the detail of Simon King’s striped tie than it is to check if its raining in Aberystwyth!”

  1. “thats why is called a forecast (predict or estimate a future event or trend) …it would be easier if we were based in the arabian peninsula where is almost the same weather every day..”
    So you don’t care how accurate a forecast is and whether the accuracy is getting better, ok but I do.

  2. There was an item on BBC News Channels “NewsWatch” about the new weather coverage and graphics and the reasons for the change. Very interesting.
    There were some complaints about the size of the place names, the colour of the map, and even the shape of the UK!
    I don’t think it is available on iPlayer yet.

  3. thats why is called a forecast (predict or estimate a future event or trend) …it would be easier if we were based in the arabian peninsula where is almost the same weather every day…

  4. “No weather forecast is accurate – thats the beauty of weather – is meant to give indications – i dont think will ever get to the point where they can forecast with accuracy for any given location”

    Then why do they pretend that they can, by producing hourly forecasts for specific locations?
    If they say there will be “heavy rain” at 12:00 for my location and it doesn’t rain then that forecast is 100% wrong.
    On the other hand, if they say it will rain in the North East, sometime today, and it rains at my location, the forecast is 100% correct.
    The problem is, the MO don’t produce statistics, for the places they forecast, so that we know how accurate, or inaccurate the forecasts are.
    More to the point, the MO don’t know either.

  5. ”Its a pity the accuracy of the forecast does’t match the graphics”

    No weather forecast is accurate – thats the beauty of weather – is meant to give indications – i dont think will ever get to the point where they can forecast with accuracy for any given location

    they are very bad at long term forecasts however – but thats mainly due to limitations of their model and the UK’s geographical location
    also with climate changing ever so fast any long term forecast is a fantasy atm
    even 10 days forecasts have gotten worse in the past year – and i think it is because of the global climate change – which models dont factor it in

  6. “met office graphics well supperior to the BBC ones – in fact they’re one of the best in world atm – i follow their twitter feed and they’ve got better and better over last months – loads of details and yet easy on the eye”

    Its a pity the accuracy of the forecast does’t match the graphics.

  7. met office graphics well supperior to the BBC ones – in fact they’re one of the best in world atm – i follow their twitter feed and they’ve got better and better over last months – loads of details and yet easy on the eye
    Is a shame because meteogroup has also this potential – they have an app called MeteoEarth – which has amazing graphs – was one of the first of its kind
    however – i noticed the engine behind it was not used on the BBC weather – maybe is a license thing

    i hope they improve it to be a bit more diverse than just a map of UK with some rain and cloud
    also i find it very hard to distinguish where is snow and where is cloud atm

  8. Yes, it did strike me that the place names were too obtrusive and as you say, most people would know where they are.
    Its almost as though they are afraid that people will complain about their location not being included.
    I seem to recall the locations being less well known in the past or that may have been on the local maps.