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?
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).
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!