Neat idea from the folk at the Weather Channel with the introduction of a trip planning service that combines route information with the latest forecast.
It is kind of reverse engineering what Google launched last year when it started plotting weather on to its Google Maps at the height of Hurricane Irene.
Rather than add a box to outline what the weather is at a location, now visitors to the site’s trip planning pageÂ are able to enter their dates of travel, start and end points, and then see on the map what the forecast is at every stage of the journey.
The system uses the existing route directions from Google Maps and has rather cleverly added its own weather API data over the top.
Here, for example, a 3,300-mile trip from Miami to Seattle will encounter mostly clear weather and sunshine along the way.
But the system also allows users to change their route. Imagine tornadoes are forecast across the plains – just pick up the road line with the mouse and move it away from the tornado.
A new route is calculated and weather markers plotted once again.
The weather becomes more detailed (from half daily to hourly, etc) as the a user zooms in to a particular part of the map – for example, as they get closer to their destination.
Another smart integration is the addition of YelpÂ reviews for different services and amenities along the way. The user simply “adds” them via a widget further down the page and the service is marked again on the page. Dislike the weather and move the route? The available amenities en-route automatically change.
The service isn’t restricted to just US users.
Fans of the classic over-lander from Istanbul in Turkey to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu can also check the weather forecast during their mammoth 45,000-mile road-trip snaking its way through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India to the Himalayan heartland.
Inevitably there are no Yelp reviews along the way for this trip, alas.