Tracking Hurricane Sandy with Open Data and R

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Hurricane Sandy is shaping up to be a major, and very dangerous, meteorological event for the US's East coast. Naturally, everyone is looking for the latest information and forecasts. Fortunately, the wealth of public meteorological data available on the open web, combined with real-time on-the-ground updates via social media, means that an ecosystem of on-line apps is now available providing all the up-to-date information you need. O'Reilly's Strata site has a good overview of the open-data Sandy-tracking apps available.

For example, R user Bob Rudis has written an R script to grab up-to-date hurricane tracking data from Unisys Weather, and combine it with the forecast cone from Google's crisis map, to create the following combined picture of where Sandy's been, and where it's going:


The forecast track shows Sandy heading north into Canada. It differers from the version on Bob's blog post because I ran the R script just now (at 16:38 PST) — that's the power of using live data!

If you're anywhere near Sandy, stay informed and above all, stay safe. You can find information on how to keep safe at Watch Sandy in “R” (Including Forecast Cone)

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