Earlier this year, Victoria experienced some of the worst bushfires in history with 173 people killed from over 400 individual fires.
As anyone who lives in urban areas close to fire prone regions will know, the effect of bush fires can be felt in the city as well as the country as particles from the fires blow over the city.
Motivated by the terrible events of Black Saturday, we wanted to explore how air quality and weather work together and how events outside the urban environment affect the city.
Our contribution to the Mashup Australia competition is Flink Weather, a data visualisation of the EPA recorded air quality around Melbourne and weather data from the Bureau of Meterology during 2008.
We took the weather data provided within the data.australia.gov.au catalogue and combined that with EPA Victoria recordings to create the Flink Weather visualisation.
One of the aims of this project was to try and represent the data in a more engaging and memorable way than the default Google Maps mashup that seems so prevalent.
Each EPA station was geocoded and recordings are mapped in 3D space using a mesh to show the wax and wane of air quality over Melbourne.
While the EPA recordings were available for every hour of the day, the weather data was available for 9am and 3pm only. We have chosen to show each data set with as much resolution as possible so we have continued to use the hourly air quality readings mapped with the weather data twice a day.
Flink Weather was built in Processing and is available as a downloadable application for Mac OS X and Windows.
¹ Windows users will also need to download Java, if you don't have it, from www.java.com
Pause/Play : Space Bar
The mesh shows the EPA Air Quality readings around Melbourne.
The Weather Dashboard shows weather reading data taken at 9am and 3pm each day.
The data combining the BOM and EPA readings for each day is available at http://www.flinklabs.com/projects/flinkweather/FlinkWeatherData.tsv.