The interactive exhibits at the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center exist to fulfill their mission of presenting the science of weather in an easy-to-understand and enjoyable manner. When one is entertained while being educated, the lessons tend to be more easily absorbed and retained. Thus their exhibits are critical to what they do and must be maintained to support the constant use.
To that end, one of the most popular exhibits in their lineup is the AccuWeather Forecasting Station or “Green Screen” as it is commonly called.
The exhibit involves using technology from AccuWeather to provide graphics for a weather forecast, including radar maps, current conditions, and five-day forecasts, and a green wall that participants stand in front of. A camera captures the visitor in front of the green wall and, using a mixer board, overlays their image with weather maps and graphics—the same process used in the majority of television weather broadcasts.
“When the exhibit was acquired back in 2006, AccuWeather provided to PWDC the weather graphics software program called ‘Galileo’ along with the necessary computer components.
“In the ensuing ten years, the software has begun to show its age. The exhibit no longer holds its settings and constantly needs readjusting by the AccuWeather technicians, who aren’t always in the position to provide us immediate service.
“As a result, sometimes the system goes down entirely and sometimes it will only show weather data from several days in the past, which can be very evident to visitors if the ‘current conditions’ graphics are showing a rain event from three days ago, but it’s sunny on the day they visit.
“Technological advancements have made the ‘Galileo’ software obsolete and AccuWeather personnel told us last year that we are one of only five Galileo systems still in use in the country.
“We are getting a major upgrade to our AccuWeather Forecasting Station exhibit. We are getting the latest technology known as Storm Director+. Now our visitors will be able experience what is like being a ‘weather presenter’, with AccuWeather’s on-point forecasts in HD.
“AccuWeather is providing us with their latest technology called ‘Storm Director+,’ an advanced interactive weather system. Storm Director+ will deliver AccuWeather’s locally customized weather conditions and forecasts to PWDC as a live feed to be mixed with the on-camera image of the PWDC visitor in much the same way as the current system. It will be powered by an operating system designed for Storm Director+ and provided to us by AccuWeather. Technical support will continue to be provided by AccuWeather.”
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