Jurassic Park’s weather prediction software sits on a dedicated computer. It pulls updates from some large government weather forecast (likely NOAA). The screen is split into three sections (clockwise from top left):
- A 3D representation of the island and surrounding ocean with cloud layers shown
- A plan view of the island showing cloud cover
- A standard climate metrics along the bottom with data like wind direction (labeled Horizontal Direction), barometric pressure, etc.
We also see a section labeled “Sectors”, with “Island 1” currently selected (other options include “USA” and “Island 2”…which is suitably mysterious).
Using the software, they are able to pan the views to the area of ocean with an incoming tropical storm. The map does not show rainfall, wind direction, wind speed, or distance; but the control room seems to have another source of information for that. They discuss the projected path of the storm while looking at the map.
The park staff relies on the data from weather services of America and Costa Rica, but doesn’t trust their conclusions (Muldoon asks if this storm will swing out of the way at the last second despite projections, “like the last one”). But the team at Jurassic Park doesn’t have any information on what’s actually happening with the storm.
Unlike local weather stations here in the U.S., or sites like NOAA weather maps, there is in this interface a lack of basic forecasting information like, say, precipitation amount, precipitation type, individual wind speeds inside the storm, direction, etc… Given the deadly, deadly risks inherent in the park, this seems like a significant oversight.
The software has spent a great deal of time rendering a realistic-ish cloud (which, we should note looks foreshadowingly like a human skull), but neglects to give information that is taken for granted by common weather information systems.
When the park meteorologist isn’t on duty, or isn’t awake, or has his attention on the Utahraptor trying to smash its way into the control room, the software should provide some basic information to everyone on staff:
- What does the weather forecast look like over the next few hours and days?
When the weather is likely to be severe, there’s more information, and it needs to urgently get the attention of the park staff.
- What’s the prediction?
- Which parts of the park will be hit hardest?
- Which tours and staff are in the most dangerous areas?
- How long will the storm be over the island?
If this information tied into mobile apps or Jurassic Park’s wider systems, it could provide alerts to individual staff, tourists, and tours about where they could take shelter.
Make the Information Usable
Reorienting information that is stuck on the bottom bar and shifting it into the 3d visual would lower the cognitive load required to understand everything that’s going on. Adding in visuals for other weather data (taken for granted in weather systems now) would bring it at least up to standard.
Finally, putting it up on the big monitor either on demand or when it is urgent would make it available to everyone in the control room, instead of just whoever happened to be at the weather monitor. Modern systems would push the information information out to staff and visitors on their mobile devices as well.
With those changes, everyone could see weather in real time to adjust their behavior appropriately (like, say, delaying the tour when there’s a tropical storm an hour south), the programmer could check the systems and paddocks that are going to get hit, and the inactive consoles could do whatever they needed to do.