Weather World 2010 Project

DEVELOPED BY THE Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the Weather World 2010 project (WW2010) is a WWW framework for integrating current and archived weather data with multimedia instructional resources, using new and innovative technologies. The project focuses on many different manifestations of global warming such as hurricanes, clouds and precipitation, and El Niño. The accuracy of the instructional resources on the website has been reviewed by professors and scientists from the DAS at the UIUC and at the Illinois State Water Survey.

Weather World 2010 is the result of a long process dating back to January 1993, when Dr. Mohan Ramamurthy and programmer John Kemp created the Weather Machine. This resource allowed users to view weather images through a gopher server. At the same time, Steve Hall started to devise instructional modules in HyperCard for use by the educationally motivated Collaborative Visualization (CoVis) Project, a project that strives to promote project-based science learning. The advent of the first Web browser Mosaic marked the birth of a new medium for the exchange of information on the internet. As a result, efforts were made to place both weather and educational resources into HTML format. This conversion transformed the original Weather Machine products into the Daily Planet, which was created in 1994. This first attempt to realize a World Wide Web product was a success, and it soon became a popular site for many to browse.

Meanwhile, Mythili Sridhar and Steve Hall converted the HyperCard-based educational modules to HTML so that they could be used on the Web. The people working on the project soon became aware of the necessity of integrating weather data with explanatory and educational material. This led to the creation of the CoVis-sponsored Electronic Textbook, later named the Online Guide to Meteorology, in 1995. This server became an extremely useful location for users to learn about weather with archived data for examples. The CoVis also provided the Geo-sciences Web Server, a useful resource allowing users large collections of links to all sorts of weather information, as well as educational material.

In the summer of 1995, the team of researchers released the Weather Visualizer, which became one of the most successful attempts to integrate real-time weather and instructional material. It allowed users to customize their own weather maps and to get explanations about difficult or technical terms. Seeing the rising popularity of HTML and newer technologies such as Java, fall 1995 witnessed the creation of the Image Animator and the Interactive Weather Report—a couple of the first Java weather tools on the Web. Thanks to real-time instant access to weather data using Java applets, these tools allowed an increased level of educational interactivity.

The first discussions of a dynamic framework for hypermedia and CD-Web interactivity started to take place in the early months of 1996. Such discussion was prompted by the difficulties experienced by CoVis teachers in accessing the large volume of information within the educational modules. Often, their connections were too slow to effectively use the resources in their classrooms. The desire to improve and redesign the existing resources, including developing better graphical interfaces and navigation systems, prompted Steve Hall and Dave Wojtowicz to begin the construction of the early form of Weather World 2010 in May 1996. This project soon grew

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