W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-xg-app-backplane@w3.org > December 2008

Re: SVG virtual weather station thread

From: Charles F Wiecha <wiecha@us.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 17:05:44 -0500
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>
Cc: public-xg-app-backplane@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF16A0B564.3461808A-ON85257514.0078F935-85257514.00794ECE@us.ibm.com>

Gregory -- what I find really interesting about this idea is not that the
data is "simply" accessible in raw form -- i.e. by going to the underlying
web services used to generate the SVG and just reading them out...but
rather to think about what the analog of the SVG *scene* is when presented
in non-visual form.

The core idea of the SVG scene, in my view (no pun) is that it
*synthesizes* and abstracts over the raw data in order to present a
visualization which in its gestalt conveys the top-level concept of
"stormy", "nice", "evening" etc etc...not the details of the specific data
points which were used to generate this concept.

So I guess there are two questions which arise: (1) what is the set of
these high-level weather "concepts" which the scenes need to present (does
it even make sense to quantize them or is it really just a continuum?), and
(2) how can these concepts be presented in non-visual forms that are still
as compelling as the SVG alternative?

It's a nice problem, anybody have any thoughts???...Charlie

Charles Wiecha
Manager, Multichannel Web Interaction
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
P.O. Box 704
Yorktown Heights, N.Y.  10598
Phone: (914) 784-6180, T/L 863-6180, Cell: (914) 320-2614

  From:       "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>                                                                                       
  To:         public-xg-app-backplane@w3.org                                                                                                  
  Date:       12/03/2008 04:31 PM                                                                                                             
  Subject:    SVG virtual weather station thread                                                                                              
  Sent by:    public-xg-app-backplane-request@w3.org                                                                                          

aloha!  during an unminuted portion of the conversation charlie and i had
during the XG's telecon time-slot tuesday, was an exchange about
interweaving accessibility and situational "disability" into the woof
and weave of the XG report as an important consideration before serving
data stroke information from an information distribution source...  i've
taken an action item to propose text to do that, but in the course of the
conversation i referred to a thread that i think perfectly underscores
the "rich presentation equals smart presentation, not just rich graphics"
point that we need (at least in my opinion) to reinforce to our audience
at every opportunity,


Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2008 09:32:25 -0500
From: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>
  To: <public-svg-ig@w3.org>, <svg-developers@yahoogroups.com>
Subj: Another SVG challenge -- virtual weather station

For maybe five years now, I have given my Interface Design students
a wide variety of possible final projects to choose from [1]. There
are a few several on which nobody has made much progress over the
years. Today someone showed me a demo of a new beta desktop
environment (called BumpTop [2]) would work. It reminds me of some of
what I’ve been talking about in terms of “physics in layout” and the
<superpath> idea, and presents some very intriguing concepts for
interface. Anyhow, they have a little widget thingy that starts to
look a bit like the virtual weather station I’ve been asking my
students to do. Given that the idea is starting to reinvent itself
outside of my own little world, I figure it’s time to try to challenge
some folks other than my students (if for no other reason than to save
someone the agony of accidentally trying to patent something for which
prior art already exists).

So here’s the challenge:

Some people work in offices that have no windows. Let’s build one for

Make an SVG page that determines the visitor’sgeographic location (based
on IP address, or direct query through a form). Next artificially
generate an animated depiction of what the weather outside would look
like based on current weather data (e.g. precipitation, wind velocity
and temperature data) from the National Weather Service), the visitor's
latitude and longitude, the time of day, and the time of year. How light
or dark it is should vary as a function time of year, latitude, humidity
and cloud cover.

For example, if it is currently raining heavily and the wind is blowing
very hard, and it is noon in October in Nome, and the temperature is -3
the sky will look rather different than similar circumstances at 17:00 in
Miami at a warmer temperature.

Overall weather categories (like rain, snow, sleet, hail, sandstorms,
etc.) should be chosen from some relatively international weather
vocabulary if such exists.

To depict a windy day when there is no precipitation or airborne sand,
one may wish to draw artificial trees and or clouds, to show the effect
of the wind.

The best entry will receive the largest smile so tell all your friends
and neighbors.


[1] http://srufaculty.sru.edu/david.dailey/cs427/projects.htm

[2] BumpTop demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0ODskdEPnQ

[3] new features for SVG

Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2008 20:31:07  0000
From: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>
  To: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>,
Subj: Re: Another SVG challenge -- virtual weather station

aloha, david!

instead of SVG-fits all, wouldn't it be wiser and more useful to
repurpose the data in conformance with the profile -- software,
hardware, delivery speed, the user's needs at that moment -- and
user-side settings and preferences of the consumer of this

i'm not arguing against "accessible SVG", or your vision of a "virtual
window", which i personally find quite appealing, although i wouldn't
be able to use it, because i am blind...  but it isn't myself that i
have in mind as i compose this, but those cases when a sailor, for
example, or a tourist canoeing in a park or wilderness area to needs
stroke prefers that this info be communicated to them verbally or in
another medium less distracting than the interpretation of a visual
representation built upon raw data that SHOULD be expressed as SVG,
and as accessible SVG as possible, but SVG MUST not be the user's
only option...

this is an issue that i've worked on in the abstract and in practice
with a few blind sailors' groups and weather information distributors --
the graphical representation is being generated based upon the
underlying data collected by many means -- a "smart" weather information
distribution system would take that into account...  in your example,
you used as an initial data point the user's location, which could be
determined by IP address, GPS, or direct query via a simple form: postal
code, longitude & latitude, and the like, to obtain accumulated data for
that specific geographic location on earth -- yes, it is not only very
cool that that data could be transformed into accessible SVG, but that is
not the optimal nor can it be the ONLY data transformation available from
the weather information source, for like me, who is blind, those engaging
in concentration-intense activities, such as rock climbing, white water
rafting, trekking across a glacier, or other similar situations cannot
afford unnecesary distractions and need usable, coherent information
delivered to them straight from the information source....

again, my reply is NOT an argument against your proposed exercise --
on the contrary, i support and encourage it (i'd like to be able to
check out the weather on the serengeti or keep tabs on the polar ice
caps), but when serving data from a backplane, it must always be
remembered that the best data is that served in a manner most suited to
the requester at the time of the request, as well as providing a means of
accessing the information contained in the generated SVG for those
checking the weather on their computer in the morning because they can't
determine if the sky is cloudy, clear or grey...

You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of
focus.                                           -- Mark Twain
Gregory J. Rosmaita: gregory@linux-foundation.org
  Vice-Chair: Linux Foundation's Open Accessibility Workgroup
http://a11y.org                          http://a11y.org/specs

Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2008 10:00:21 -0500
From: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>
  To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>, <public-svg-ig@w3.org>
Subj: RE: Another SVG challenge -- virtual weather station

Fascinating Gregory,

I am sorry to admit I had not even thought about accessibility issues
in this context. You've opened a new perspective on it for me.
Providing an interface to that backplane of data for unsighted
populations would no longer consist of just entertainment or
nerve-soothing value (as I had considered it) but, in the situations
you outline, important. I talked about your ideas in class this


Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2008 18:37:56  0000
From: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>
  To: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>,<public-svg-ig@w3.org>
Subj: RE: Another SVG challenge -- virtual weather station

aloha, david!

thank you so very much for your reply and for stressing to your
students that it is the underlying data that needs to be repurposable,
not "just" to accommodate the "disabled", but also those for whom a
visual medium is inconvenient or even dangerous, given the situation
in which the informational query is being made...

if i can be of any further assistance to you or you would like to
continue this dialog, PLEASE do not hesitate to let me know, on-list
or off-list...

as a side note, one of the W3C groups in which i am a "participant
in good standing" is the Rich Web Applications Backplane Incubator
group, precisely to keep the concept of the serving most appropriate
content from raw data, rather than providing an after-the-fact
accessibility overlay, foremost in the XG's minds; of course, as i
stated, the output, no matter the modality, should be as accessible
as possible, but the need for the same basic data set served in as
many contexts as possible should be the end goal for the weather
information distribution service so that those who need information
quickly and accurately conveyed to them, no matter what the circumstance,
has that ability...  this is one of the reasons why the news exchange
formats (a.k.a. the NewsML effort - http://www.newsml.org/) is so
intriguing, as the "suite" of "news exchange formats" (all XML-derived
languages/dialects) now includes "EventsML" and "SportsML", and i need
to investigate whether or not SVG is addressed/used by the news
exchange formats as the optimal visual representation format for
news-oriented institutions and companies...

glad to have been of assistance, gregory.
It is difficult to say what is impossible, for yesterday's dream is
today's hope and tomorrow's reality.           -- Robert P. Goddard
Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net
     Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/
            Oedipus' Online Complexes: http://my.opera.com/oedipus

(image/gif attachment: graycol.gif)

(image/gif attachment: ecblank.gif)

Received on Wednesday, 3 December 2008 22:06:32 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 19:50:45 UTC