It were always raining on Denley Moor

BBC: BBC defends new weather forecasts
The BBC has defended its new TV weather maps with realistic 3-D landscapes following complaints by viewers… Some viewers complained about the way Scotland was depicted on screen during the national forecast. The BBC spokesman denied any bias and said the bottom of the map appeared larger because it is a 3D forecast and the south is "slightly larger as it is closer to the viewer".

Ah, but that's the whole point: why did the BBC choose to display the map from a southern aspect? Why not show it from the north, where all the weather is? I know, don't tell me, it's because that's where the satellite sees the country from. How very fortunate!

On second thoughts, why not display the map from directly overhead, in glorious 2-D (just like on the old maps)? Seeing the country in so-called 3-D adds nothing, simply distorting perspective and making it even harder to work out where the hell Hebden Bridge is.

Actually, this story involves two hobby-horses of mine: subtle (and not-so-subtle) media bias against the north, and unnecessary 3-D graphics. Whenever I am shown a new whizz-bang piece of software by a potential supplier, they almost invariably proudly demonstrate its 3-D graph-generating capability. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Supplier: Look! It can even produce 3-D graphs!
Me: That's very clever. Does it do 2-D graphs as well?
Supplier: Erm… Why would you want to do 2-D graphs?
Me: Well, because in most cases they contain exactly the same information and are easier to read.
Supplier: Are they?
Me: Yes. So, does it do 2-D graphs then?
Supplier: Do you know, I haven't the faintest idea. Nobody's ever asked before. Can I get back to you on that one?

3-D graphs are a large part of what is wrong with this country. 3-D graphs and the weather.

As easy as pie: These two charts show exactly the same information. Now, you tell me, which is larger, segment A (blue) or segment B (orange)? Question two: which of the two charts was easier to read?

Postscript:

BBC (28-May-05): New BBC weather map gets facelift
The BBC has given its controversial new weather map a facelift after complaints it had a south of England bias.

4 thoughts on “It were always raining on Denley Moor

  1. I have 2 theories on this current trend towards 3D imaging.....
    1. By using a 3D graph it is easier to mislead the viewer into believing 'loaded' information, particularly when no written documentation is offered as proof.

    2. In the words of my old science teacher 'if you can't blind them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit'

  2. I also have a theory on 3D imaging.
    All 3D images are thin at one end, much much fatter in the middle & then thin again at the other end. That is my theory which I have and it is mine!

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