Something seems to be missing from online weather maps.
They show major highways and town names. But have you ever seen one get detailed enough to show neighborhoods and street names and, by extension, truly localized weather?
The Weather Channel is unveiling a product Monday that could change that.
The Atlanta-based cable channel has partnered with Microsoft Corp. to offer detailed road maps combined with satellite imagery. The result is an interactive Web map that lets users zoom in to get a localized snapshot of current weather. That is, to see how it's affecting their neighborhood — not just the city as a whole.
The interactive map sits on the channel's online site, http://www.weather.com. It has a sliding bar that controls the view of the weather, along with tools that let users pan around the map.
The Weather Channel hopes it can draw more eyeballs to its site and get them to stay longer. The site already logs about 35 million users each month and millions more during weather disasters.
The company will next start mapping out points of interest, such as golf courses, ski resorts and parks. And eventually, it hopes the program can show a localized weather forecast for the hours and days ahead.
Says Todd Richards, editorial director of the Web site: "We're scratching the surface."