ChaserTracker – following tornado chasers

Each spring and summer, hundreds of storm chasers, thrill-seekers, vacationers, and scientists search for nature’s wrath.  CharserTracer is a visual animation piece showing chasers’ movements as they traverse the midwest seeking twisters.  While over-hyped chaser TV shows like Storm Chasers show a heavily edited micro-view of storm chasing, I wanted to create an eye-in-the-sky view of how chasers chase.

Watch the swarming, dispersing, and migrating patterns of storm chasers in these animations:

2 Days in June    (101 sec – 720p, image)

30 Days in May    (203 sec – 720p, image)

 

What insights into storm chasing can you glean from these animations?  Post feedback and suggestions.

I created ChaserTracer with data from Spotter Network, who shared 7 months of 1-second GPS data from 100’s of chasers.  (Much thanks to Spotter Network.)  Storm damage reports from tornadoes, winds, and hail were obtained from NOAA.  I also created ChaserTracer to learn how to plot location data with Processing, made easier by the Unfolding library.  Audio help from Kevin Snyder.

Technology used:

  •   Processing software – a great data processing and display language.  Want the program? Just email me.
  •   Unfolding  – powerful and easy-to-use mapping library
  •   Chaser data from Spotter Network
  •   Damage reports from NOAA
  •   Audio tracks via GarageBand
  •   Map backgrounds from Microsoft