About Paragliding Map
What is Paragliding Map (and what isn't it)?
The mission statement of ParaglidingMap.com is simple:
Misson: To show paraglider pilots where it's flyable using a simple but powerful interactive map. Pilots can click icons to drill down to the details where necessary.
A simple concept, but not simple to implement! In fact, this site is a work-in-progress, and will probably always remain so, because the information can be continually refined and tweaked to make it more accurate. I regularly release new versions of ParaglidingMap.com; you can see what has changed on the new features page.
I am the first to admit that ParaglidingMap.com is not guaranteed to give perfect results. My goal is to provide a map that is generally correct, and useful for quickly seeing where it is likely to be flyable. I also display the weather stations on the map so pilots can make their own decisions about whether my interpretation is correct or not. Even if you think I'm wrong for a particular location, I'm glad you had the information to make this decision for yourself.
One of the biggest challenges to accurately predict is the European alps, where there are micro-climates, föhn, valley winds and lees. Over time, you will see the accuracy of alpine information improve as I add features allowing users (you) to modify the weather station information for sites. For example, you may decide that the automatically assigned weather station for a site is not a good choice, because it is located in lee-side turbulence, and will have the opportunity to choose a more suitable replacement.
How does Paragliding Map work?
It's quite simple really; Paragliding Map takes current weather observations, and makes a rules-based decision on whether each flying site around the world is flyable or not. The following information is used to make the decision:
- acceptable wind directions for the flying site
- current wind direction
- current wind speed and gust strength
- current weather observations (clouds, fog, rain, or thunderstorms, but not yet föhn)
- forecasts (if thunderstorms are forecast, warnings are displayed)
ParaglidingMap.com consumes data from a number of sources, processes it, then displays it on the map. In fact, there is no other website where information from the most important data sources is displayed in one place.
Flying sites are imported from many sources, and duplicates are removed automatically. More sources will be added over time.
ParaglidingMap.com sources current weather information from NOAA and MADIS, which are U.S. government agencies who collect international weather information and perform quality assurance before releasing it.
Forecast information comes from WindFinder.com, which is an especially good choice because they pay extra attention to our most important weather phenomenon: the wind.
As part of his Masters thesis, Michael von Känel processed hundreds of thousands of logged flights to determine where thermals consistently appear. Where pilots experienced repeated lift in the same location over many flights, Michael has marked these locations as thermal hotspots.
Can I add or modify flying sites?
Absolutely! You can either go directly to Paragliding Earth to make your changes, or click on the "Update information for this site" in the popup bubble for a site. Within 7 days, your changes will be automatically imported and available on ParaglidingMap.com. Even better, within 14 days WindFinder.com will automatically start sending forecasts for your new location to ParaglidingMap.com which can be used to predict flyability for the next 3 days. If you want your sites imported faster, flick me an email and I will run the importer for you manually.
What's coming next?
Well, I have a lot of ideas, but the answer to this question really depends on you, the users. Please feel free to contact me and offer criticism, suggestions, or even just to tell me I suck! I will actively try to fix any problems you see, and implement your suggestions.
I will also be constantly working on improving my interpretation of the various data sources streaming into ParaglidingMap.com. Over time, you will see the predictions on this site get better and better. Soon, you will also have the opportunity to improve the information for the sites you fly at yourself.
See you in the sky!