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Weather Graphics

BBC Weather

3D weather graphics for real-time forecasts

A new look for weather maps and a completely new system for producing weather forecasts at the BBC.

Layers of Met Office weather data displayed over true 3D maps using the New Zealand 'Weatherscape' system adapted specially for the BBC. Weather data is shared across all the BBC regional centres as well as online outlets. 3D broadcast graphics all rendered in real-time.

The BBC Weather graphics picked up a BDA award in the category 'Information Graphics' at the BDA World Gold Finals 2006.


A composite of an actual glass sphere from a heliograph with 3D Maya animations of refracted skies, using After Effects. Below : static tests and broadcast versions.

test for new BBC Weather ident - frosty

ident test

test for new BBC Weather ident - rainbow

ident test

BBC Weather ident - blue skies

BBC Weather ident - blue skies

BBC Weather ident - grey skies

BBC Weather ident - grey skies

Weather Symbols

See the full set of traditional BBC Weather symbols

Here are some early tests and example of reworked cloud symbol. The classic symbols were re-drawn - just a few minor tweaks, mostly to help them work at small sizes on the web.

BBC weather symbols

From 'The Cloudspotter's Guide' by Gavin Pretor-Pinney :

'The cumulus symbols were used to stand for cloud cover for thirty years until 2005, when the BBC weather graphics were completely redesigned into a dynamic 3D system, which showed how cloud coverage and rainfall distribution varied in real time. Whilst the new system gave a much more accurate indication of cloud cover, viewers complained that the way the camera panned and swooped across the computer generated map made them feel sick. But perhaps that was just and excuse and, like me, they were merely sad to have to say goodbye to the friendly Cumulus symbols.'

Weather Maps

weather surface effects

Replacing symbols with data-driven surface effects - early proof of concept

weather maps - color tests

Base maps - early colour tests

weather maps - color tests

Early colour palettes for 'day' and 'night'

weather maps - shadow tests

Tests for cast shadows

weather maps - color tests

Test : Observed (satellite) day / night. Forecast (sun and shadow)

Outlook icons

weather icons - outlook tests

Icon development : symbol + background

weather icons - outlook tests

Icon development : temperature + background

weather icons - outlook tests

turned out nice again

weather icons - outlook tests

outlook icon on the BBC Weather home page

BBC Weather graphics : On air

BBC Weather graphics - 'Grey skies' opening

'Grey skies' opening

weather graphics

Atlantic pressure with rain

BBC Weather graphics - temperatures


BBC Weather graphics - Long-range forecast


BBC Weather graphics - Outlook


BBC Weather graphics - Northern Ireland close up

Northern Ireland close up

BBC Weather graphics - Overnight frost

Overnight frost

BBC Weather graphics - Satellite image

Satellite image

BBC Weather Graphics

The mighty Dan Corbett

See also (external links)

royalty free weather symbols from our store

Additional content © BBC | Site design by Mike Afford