How do you offer powerful weather intelligence, and visualize it in an engaging way? Providing accurate, up to date, stunning weather visualizations with attractive background maps has become highly critical in a very competitive environment.

PlanetObserver is not specialized in weather data. However, we do have some long term expertise in maps based on satellite imagery. Our maps are both attractive and informative. Therefore, they are very engaging and inspiring and constitute the perfect fit for weather graphics systems. This is what we demonstrated to MetraWeather.


BACKGROUND – Weather graphics system for TV broadcasters

MetraWeather, the international commercial brand of the Meteorological Service of New Zealand, is a global leader in providing innovative weather information services. Backed by meteorological expertise, technical innovation and operational excellence, MetraWeather positions itself as the weather expert.

With more than 240 employees in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Europe, MetraWeather supplies graphical weather presentation solutions to leading broadcasters and media companies around the world for over 20 years. Their leading solution Weatherscape XT is an advanced weather graphics and information system. In other words, it allows TV broadcasters to show high-quality graphics and maps of weather events in their daily news shows.


CHALLENGE – Power of maps in weather visualization

MetraWeather’s challenge was to offer better background maps to their clients in Weatherscape XT. They recognized that their clients wished to have more visually appealing maps and up-to-date satellite imagery on which to present weather information. This request was due to the growing use of maps and satellite imagery in many applications across all industries, well beyond the broadcasting industry. As a result, people now expect to see detailed and attractive maps both in consumer and professional applications.

MetraWeather had already defined that those maps had to be based on satellite imagery and elevation data. They also had to offer a global coverage. They evaluated and tested a number of maps that did not meet their expectations in terms of quality, update options and technical feasibility.

PlanetObserver, leading geospatial data provider and expert in imagery processing appeared on MetraWeather’s radar. MetraWeather was attracted by our portfolio of off-the-shelf global satellite imagery basemap and global elevation dataset. As all datasets are entirely processed in-house, it demonstrated our expertise and know-how in geospatial data processing. Similarly, it confirmed our ability to deliver customized maps. MetraWeather tasked PlanetObserver to supply global upgraded maps for Weatherscape XT.


SOLUTION – PlanetObserver global imagery and elevation data for weather visualization

PlanetObserver was up to the challenge. Firstly, it was important to understand the technical specifications of Weatherscape XT maps in order to come up with an operational solution. Weatherscape XT operates with maps in specific sizes and formats, and processed by combining different source data, mixing satellite imagery and elevation data. Therefore, PlanetObserver first tested different data combinations for MetraWeather to validate. We then generated four global maps with different textures and at different resolutions.

Finally, MetraWeather benefited from a stunning global satellite imagery map down to 15m or 10m resolution depending on areas. On top of that, they also took advantage from a highly detailed height map perfect to create amazing fly-throughs and 3D animations.


THE FUTURE – An ongoing partnership

MetraWeather integrated the newly generated maps into Weatherscape XT graphics system. Customers benefited from top quality imagery and elevation maps. Moreover, maps can be updated on-demand by PlanetObserver with fresh satellite imagery. The updated maps are delivered per FTP within short delivery times, ready to be embedded in the Weatherscape XT solution.

PlanetObserver is proud to provide MetraWeather with efficient maps for efficient weather visualisation.

« The use of PlanetObserver global imagery and elevation data was perfect to upgrade Weatherscape XT maps. We get fully calibrated files for our system that can be updated on-demand. This solution gives us a lot of flexibility to provide customised data to our customers. »

– Neville Booth, Product Owner for Weatherscape XT weather visualisation system, MetraWeather.