Press Release

The opening of 25-year typhoon image database, and
the opening of "Typhoon Front", typhoon information by participatory media

Today on July 19, the 25-year typhoon image database is opened at "Digital Typhoon" website, http://www.digital-typhoon.org/.

This database contains 137,700+ images of all typhoons and cyclones (Australia) since 1981 (666 typhoons and 269 cyclones). Hourly typhoon images are created from geostationary meteorological satellite images (GMS and MTSAT series). All typhoon images are centered in the sense that the center of the typhoon, determined from the best track dataset, is always located at the center of the image. I referred to the best track dataset maintained by Japan Meteorological Agency and Bureau of Meteorology (Australia).

One of the interests to work with this database is the comprehensive (and hopefully automated) reanalysis of the typhoon best track dataset. A possible bias in the best track dataset should be checked by other objective data sources such as satellite images. So I hope this database provides some evidence, if any, of a bias in the best track dataset. Other interesting topic is to study the long-term variation of typhoon activity in the Pacific in the context of climate change.

This database also provides many ways to search typhoons, such as search by date, search by location, or search by image similarity.

On the same day, a participatory typhoon information site is opened at "Typhoon Front" website, http://front.eye.tc/.

This site aims at aggregating local typhoon information from many volunteers across the world. The method that we provide first is using weblog trackbacks, and we ask bloggers to ping trackbacks to Trackback URLs provided automatically for every country, and in Japan for every prefecture, municipal government, and zip code. Then "Typhoon Front" will become the hub of information submitted from bloggers across the world.

"Typhoon Front" provides an interface for visualizing all typhoon-related information on a unified geographic and temporal space. The movement of typhoon is synchronized with local information submitted from participant bloggers, and all information is dynamically visualized and updated in real-time so that the "information from the front" can raise the awareness of people on the typhoon.

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