Our Work: FAA Weather Camera Website

Screenshot of FAA Weather Camera website displaying topographical map of snowy mountains meeting a large body of water and Seward airport skyline with clear blue skies

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provided a website used by pilots across Alaska to access weather camera feeds and weather data to help improve aviation safety. The FAA hired Resource Data to create the next generation of this site to include additional data, improve the display to better convey conditions at a glance, and to take advantage of new cloud technology. Further, the FAA wanted the site to expand beyond Alaska to support aviation safety throughout the US.

The Solution

Resource Data worked with the FAA to build a new interactive website that displays a range of information on an easy-to-use interface. Basic weather and notices are now displayed on the map itself, allowing users to quickly determine conditions in any area. Users can also click to view:

  • Additional details on current and forecasted conditions, such as temperature, wind, ice, and turbulence
  • Weather camera feeds for nearly 200 locations across Alaska, along with when they were updated
  • Special notices about flying conditions and reports submitted by other pilots
  • Map layers such as aviation charts pilots rely on to fly in different conditions and satellite and radar imagery
  • Airport terminal procedures and terminal area charts

Check out the site at: weathercams.faa.gov

Our Approach

Resource Data designed the site with pilots in mind, collaborating with an expert from the FAA who helped ensure it provides the exact data pilots need, using a display and terminology familiar to them. Everything from placement of symbols to colors used is intended to make complex information quickly accessible before a flight.

The new site also needed to display large amounts of data while operating quickly. To do this, the Resource Data team chose to build the site using React, an open-source framework engineered by Facebook that allows developers to create complex web applications with interfaces that work fast and efficiently. Our team built a number of APIs and data services to collect data from a variety of sources and display it in one place. We also took steps to declutter the map by displaying only very important information at high zoom levels and revealing more information as the user zooms in. This allows the users to easily navigate the map to find what they need.

A group of pilots tested and provided feedback on multiple versions of the site, and overall feedback was very positive. It went live for the public in spring of 2017, and the FAA is continuing to collect feedback from pilots so Resource Data can make further enhancements.