Published: 2013-04-29 09:45:00
Updated: 2013-04-29 11:59:24
Posted April 29, 2013
By Mike Moss
Those of you who use the iControl radar feature on our web site may have noticed a different look recently as we've implemented a new version of the display, powered by HTML5 rather than Flash. In general, the same features are available in the display as you were used to in the past, with a couple of small changes or additions that will hopefully add to its utility, in addition to making it available in similar form on many different platforms and devices.
Taking the screen shot above as a starting point, there are several features to note about the display. The main window, of course, overlays a variety of information types on a map background. The map view can be moved by clicking and dragging it around, and you can zoom in or out by either clicking the + or - buttons in the top left corner of the map, or by clicking briefly on the map and then using the scroll wheel on your mouse.
When you arrive at the iControl page, the display defaults to show a radar reflectivity and precipitation-type composite map, with colors corresponding to a scale across the top of the screen. By clicking the "Options" panel above the map window, you can choose to display clouds instead of radar, or you can choose a number of added features to toggle on or off, such as alerts, a limited lightning display, or storm cell icons that can be moused over to see a direction of movement and estimate of arrival times at various distances, or clicked on to provide more info on the type of cell and any threat it may pose. In the options list, you can also adjust the looping speed of animations, and change the type of background map.
Next to the Options box is a Search area that allows you to type in a specific address or a town name, and when you click the adjacent gray magnifying glass button, the map window will zoom to that location for a close-up view, and add a blue marker to the map in that location. If you are logged into your WRAL.com account, you'll also be given an opportunity to save that location for quick access in the future, either by clicking the blue button on the map, or by clicking the down arrow on the search form and choosing the location from a list - you can also give the location a simpler name, like "Home," "Work," "Mom's House," etc. That list also includes an "X" by each saved location that you can use to delete it if you decide later not to keep it as a favorite.
Below the map to the left you'll see animation controls. Here, clicking the play arrow starts the image looping, while pause stops the animation on the current frame. You can then click the forward or back arrows to go forward or backward one frame at a time. There is also a series of progress boxes below the center of the screen that you can click on to quickly go to the earliest or latest time step.
Above the map on the left side is a selector marked "Now/Future." Here, you can choose between showing the radar/satellite selections mentioned above (Now) or see computer model projections of precipitation, temperature, humidity and so on by clicking the Future portion and then selecting which variable to display over in the "Options" panel. As with radar, the color scale across the top of the display will change to reflect the selected variable.
A couple of final items - when you're zoomed in to roughly the scale of our state or closer, you'll see some red camera icons in a few locations.Clicking one of these will pull up a window with the latest available webcam image from that source. Also, below the +/- boxes for zooming in the upper left portion of the map, there is a box you can click to go full-screen with the iControl display. When you're in that mode, you can press the escape key to get back to the normal view.
We hope you continue to find the iControl feature a useful part of our site, and welcome your feedback and ideas...