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Curious Software Helps The UKs Met Office Map The Weather

Curious World Maps allows customisation of maps for each broadcaster to reflect channel?s identity (September 16, 2005)

Anyone who watches television weather forecasts will know how important maps are for the presentation of this information. A clear image showing exactly whats going to happen in various parts of the country is vital for both viewer and forecaster. Good map backgrounds are essential to the presentation of TV weather.

Broadcasters understand this and are also aware of how attached viewers become to a certain weather map style. Each broadcaster has its own map identity that reflects the overall look and colour scheme of the channel. When these change, as they invariably do from time to time, it is important to have a tool that enables this change to be carried out as easily and quickly as possible.

?What most viewers want from their weather maps is clarity, says Mona Lukha, technical development manager for the Met Office, which provides weather services to UK broadcasters. ?Research undertaken by the TV companies shows that viewers see weather forecasts as information, not entertainment. And they want this information presented in a very clear and simple way. A map that is too complicated or too fussy will put them off because it detracts from the main message.

Since 2001, the Met Office has been using Curious Softwares Curious World Maps package (CWM) to create clear and informative base maps for broadcasters such as ITV, GMTV and Channel 4. It recently upgraded the software to incorporate satellite imagery of the UK, which it is now using in conjunction with CWMs Natural Earth add-on.

?The software is very versatile, so it allows us to create the same map area for each broadcaster but to customise it to reflect the individual broadcasters house style. Mona Lukha says. ?CWMs Style Editor and Natural Earth facilities allow us to add texture and contours to the sea or land mass or change the colour of a map so that it links in with the broadcasters own colour scheme. Channel 4, for example, has no texture on its base maps, whereas GMTVs maps have a combination of 2D and 3D maps, which we are able to provide thanks to the 3D facilities within CWM and our in-house WeatherEye software.

Prior to investing in Curious World Maps, the Met Office was using a complex map creation software that meant only the design team were able to create maps for its clients.

Mona Lukha says: ?The old software was very inflexible, which made the workload much heavier for our design team. In contrast, CWM is extremely user friendly, to the extent that we have been able to train our forecasters to use the software and create their own maps. This has significantly speeded up our map production process.

Launched in 2000, Curious Softwares Curious World Maps has rapidly gained a reputation amongst broadcasters for its versatility and ease of use. The speed at which maps can be created and updated makes it ideal for news and traffic reporting, as well as weather. It also plays a vital role in the post-production of documentaries, sports and travel programmes where maps are needed to set the scene or identify an area of particular interest.

The software, which last year won a Queens Award for Innovation, gives users total creative control, enabling them to quickly and easily create broadcast quality still and animated maps of anywhere in the world. It includes built-in vector databases of the whole world comprising detailed outline data for countries, regions, states and counties. It also includes over a million place names covering towns, mountains and other physical features such as rivers, lakes and roads. Imported local data or satellite images can also be incorporated, making it simple to create in minutes an animation than zooms in from a spinning globe right down to a single building. Many top broadcasters are now using CWM on a daily basis, including the BBC, Sky, NBC, ABC and CNN.

Apart from television weather forecasting, the Met Office provides valuable global advice on the weather and the natural environment to other national meteorological and hydrological services, governments, flood managers, humanitarian relief operations, military organisations and private sector companies around the world. Come rain, shine, ice or gales, the Met Office delivers the information everyone needs to stay one step ahead of the weather.

About Curious Software:
Curious Software is an innovative software company with a great pedigree.

Founded in May 1999, Curious Softwares aim is to make the highest quality professional information graphics available to everyone creating content for the television, post-production, Internet and corporate graphics industries.

Curious Software products provide all the tools required to create stunning animations and presentations in easy-to-use and affordable packages. Our series of professional products are all based on a generic multi-layered animation engine, designed to accelerate the creation of the highest quality graphics.

For more information about Curious Software and its products please visit

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