We’ve entered the time of year when unexpected weather scenarios can disrupt travel, military operations, and everyday commerce. These disruptions cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars every year, result in unexpected loss of life, and can impact national security.
According to available market research, the global weather forecasting systems market is estimated to be $1.4 billion in 2014 and grow to $1.8 billion by 2020. Included in this market are systems that use radar for weather data collection and various types of displays for visualization and weather related decision making based on the data collected. Thanks to continued advances in radar imaging and computer systems, the ability to track and forecast weather further into the future, with greater reliability and over larger areas, continues to improve and allows for advanced planning and preparation. While the latest advances include 3D radar imaging systems that provide comprehensive 3D weather data, there remains a need for display technology that can take full advantage of the 3D data increasingly available.
Figure 1. Volumetric 3D Image of a Storm (Popular Mechanics, May 2013)
The weather systems forecast market is one of the markets that 3DIcon is exploring. A glasses-free 3D volumetric display would allow multiple meteorologists to simultaneously observe the available 3D data as it streams real time from various imaging systems being used to monitor meteorological conditions and perform timely weather-related decision making. Such a system could be located at one of the many regionally located facilities established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) or commercial suppliers of air, ground, or maritime transport systems.