Comments about the International Cloud Atlas hosted by the Hong Kong Observatory

I am visiting and I keep seeing this red note: Links in the image description will highlight features on the image. Mouse over the features for more detail.
But, it actually requires a click for the region on the image to be outlined.  The instruction are correct, but should probably be in blue, since they offer positive advice (if it worked).  Reserve red for “turn around and try something else”.
Every page and every bit of content should identify the authors and hosts, and give a standard way for visitors to join in and make comments or ask questions. Now every page is different in providing standard features like contact, about, owners, community.
The comparison of two images is not actually a comparison, it is a juxtaposition of two images and their individual descriptions.   ALL the images fail to provide an exact direction for the center, the magnification of the image, and details about the camera or sensor. There are many other sensors that can pick up data about a region of space occupied by one isolated cloud.  And those apply to individual clouds that have merged.
I am sad that you did not everywhere immediately identify the height, thickness, density, temperature, particle size distribution.  I know this emerged from human observers.  In this day and age, forcing billions of people to memorize so many partially descriptive words should probably give way to measurements and quantitative comparisons.  Apps for “what is this cloud that I am seeing with my cell phone? What is going on there?  Also save it to share with the local and regional cloud research groups.
There are many allsky and half sky live webcams on the Internet now. They are going online very rapidly and improving in resolution.  I am trying to encourage them all to have quantitative overlays and measurements.  Part of that is machine vision, but automated cloud classification that only generates word descriptions is going to fail when billions of users are not going to have the time or interest to memorize words – usually in a language not their own.  None of these webcam sponsors follows any standards, and they are not working together to calibrate the local weather models.  They don’t show weather overlays, or quantify anything.
There will be groups using Fourier methods to summarize, and more counting pixels and comparing.  But WMO Clouds could save billions of hours (a few minutes per person per year for 4 billion Internet users) who glance at clouds and want to know more.  That goes up into the trillions (a few hours per person per year) when there are storms or travel or plans.
On your pages like you could use hoverboxes (hover the image and show the description, don’t make people click and go to a whole new page).  Wikipedia uses them, but those are not even that good.  A hoverbox should, itself, be hover-able, move-able, resize-able, minimize-able, drag-able to panels, and layouts saved and shared.
I learned a lot in a short time with these descriptions, but you have so much and it is not organized well.  You need a much simpler organizing principle, based on generic image description skills that every human should learn.  Angular resolution (square degrees or nanoSteradians, but not using those terms).  Min and max of the intensities relative to the total illumination.  Total illuminations in Watts/meter^2 or intensity per pixel.  I have to use ALL languages on the Internet, so I cannot use the most likely words you would use.  My solution is to personalize all Internet browsing and interactions, more than I can describe in a few words and a few minutes.
It is very irritating to have these popups and no way to bookmark or share them. – should allow “open in a new tab”, and have a permanent url for sharing.
The sounding chart has two curves that are NEVER labeled.  Shame on someone.  You know it but there are billions of people who never sat in that class and memorized charts by shapes. ALL the images need to be zoom-able.
Richard Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation
Richard K Collins

About: Richard K Collins

Director, The Internet Foundation Studying formation and optimized collaboration of global communities. Applying the Internet to solve global problems and build sustainable communities. Internet policies, standards and best practices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.