ArcGIS Living Atlas

Map in a minute: Map a hurricane using ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Living Atlas

2021 is expected to be another extremely active year for hurricanes. Current forecasts predict a record sixth consecutive year of greater than normal storm activity. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is saying that 2021 will bring between 15 and 21 named storms, as severe storms start forming earlier than typical in the past.

ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World includes authoritative live feeds and other content that helps you learn more about active hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons. Besides making your own map in under a minute using ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Living Atlas content, you can use other applications that use the same live feeds to visualize and learn more about hurricanes.

Continue reading to learn about three ways to make a map and find out more about hurricanes, all in under a minute.

 

Make a hurricane map

Follow these steps to make your own hurricane map in a minute or less. Just follow this workflow:

Choose Map Viewer or Map Viewer Classic to see specific steps for each viewer.

You can also try ready-to-use apps like Hurricane Aware and Hurricane Public Information.

 


 

Map Viewer

Step 1 — Sign in to your ArcGIS account. Open Map Viewer, then click Add layer.

Add layer

Step 2 — Select Living Atlas from the drop-down list.

Living Atlas

Step 3 — Enter “hurricane” in search to locate matching layers from the Living Atlas. Locate the Active Hurricanes, Cyclones and Typhoons layer and click (+) to add it to the map.

Living Atlas search

Tip: To learn more about any layer, click the layer title to View item details.

View item details

From the Active Hurricanes item details you will learn that the layer shows the observed path, forecast track, and intensity of tropical cyclone activity (hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones) from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). The source is checked for updates every 15 minutes using the aggregated live feed methodology.

After adding Active Hurricanes, the map content shows a collection of layers describing the observed and forecast hurricane positions and tracks, the forecast error cones, and watches and warnings. The map below shows Hurricane Ida as it approaches New Orleans.

Step 4 — Dismiss the properties pane in the Settings toolbar on the right.

Dismiss properties

Collapse the Settings toolbar to minimize it.

Collapse

Step 5 — Dismiss the Add layer pane.

Add layer pane

The map displays a collection of layers describing the observed and forecast hurricane positions and tracks, the forecast error cones, and watches and warnings. The map below shows storms currently in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane map
View larger image

Explore the map and click features to learn more. The map was created in less than a minute, but additional refinements can be made to customize the map to suit your tastes and needs. Use the Layer pane to toggle or select layers, use the Settings (light) toolbar to change layer style and other properties.

In the example below, several layers were toggled to show the current track, the forecast cone, and the predicted hurricane force winds with partial transparency. In addition, the basemap was changed to Firefly Imagery Hybrid.

Hurricane map
View larger image


 

Map Viewer Classic

Step 1 — Sign in to your ArcGIS account. Open Map Viewer, click Add, then Browse Living Atlas Layers.

Browse Living Atlas Layers

Step 2 — Enter “hurricane” in search to locate the Active Hurricanes, Cyclones and Typhoons layer. Click (+) to add it to the map.

Search for hurricane

Tip: To learn more about any layer, click the layer title to View item details.

View item details

From the Active Hurricanes item details you will learn that the layer shows the observed path, forecast track, and intensity of tropical cyclone activity (hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones) from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). The source is checked for updates every 15 minutes.

After adding Active Hurricanes, the map content shows a collection of layers describing the observed and forecast hurricane positions and tracks, the forecast error cones, and watches and warnings. The map below shows the status for Marco and Laura in the Gulf of Mexico.

Active hurricanes web map
View larger image

Explore the map and click features to learn more. The map was created in less than a minute, but additional refinements can be made to customize the map to suit your tastes and needs.

In the example below, all layers save those showing the observed and forecast tracks, plus the forecast error cone, have been toggled off. The basemap was changed to Firefly Imagery Hybrid. Finally, the style was adjusted for the error cones for better viewing on the basemap.

Hurricane map
View larger image

Experiment with different basemaps, layer visibility, and layer style adjustments to create the map you like.


 

Use Hurricane Aware

Hurricane Aware is a ready-to-use Living Atlas application that uses the same live feeds layer as above. The app also adds demographic information to help you learn more about impacted areas. Follow these steps to use Hurricane Aware.

Step 1 — Navigate to the ArcGIS Living Atlas website Apps tab and look for Hurricane Aware.

Step 2 — Open Hurricane Aware by clicking the thumbnail to View app details.

View app details

Step 3 — Click View application.

View application

Step 4 — Click Select Storm and choose from the current active storms. Hurricane Laura was selected.

Select storm

Step 5 — View the selected hurricane. The forecasted storm intensity is displayed on the right, click an entry to zoom to the forecasted event.

Hurricane Aware app
View larger image

Step 6 — Click anywhere within the United States to learn more about local weather and community demographics. A yellow dot appears where you click.

Community weather and demographics

Scroll down in the side pane to see additional charts showing precipitation, wind gusts, population, and demographic information.

Weather and demographic charts


 

Hurricane Public Information Map

The Hurricane Public Information Map is built and maintained by the Esri Disaster Response Program. It uses ArcGIS Web AppBuilder, ArcGIS Living Atlas live feeds and basemaps, along with the Public Information solution template. To use the app, follow these steps.

Step 1 — Locate the app on the Esri Disaster Response Program website. Open the Disasters tab, then choose Hurricanes.

Disasters tab - Hurricanes

Step 2 — From the Hurricanes page click View full screen to open the app.

Open Hurricane Information Map

Step 3 — Explore the map using the available tools. Map navigation, measure, print, sketch, and a basemap tools can be found in the upper left. The upper right has map information, legend, layer visibility, full screen, and sharing tools. Click any feature to learn more about it.

Experiment to create the desired map by toggling different layers, changing the basemap, and adding sketch elements.

Hurricane and Cyclone Info app
View larger image


 

Summary

You can make a hurricane map using authoritative live feed sources in well under a minute using any of the options discussed above.


 

More information

For more information, see:

This blog article was originally published on August 24, 2020, and has been updated.

About the author

Corporate tech evangelist and senior principal product manager at Esri, focusing on ways to broaden access to geographic information and helping users succeed with the ArcGIS online system. On a good day I'm making a map, on a great day I'm on one. Follow @bernszukalski or email bszukalski@esri.com

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