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是谁发明了天气预报符号

(2014-09-16 16:38:28)
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杂谈

分类: 怎样背单词

As a design student at the Norwich School of Art in the early 1970s, Mark Allen watched the weather broadcast every afternoon on the BBC. Back then, TV presenters1 slid magnetic symbols around a metal map: dots for rain, asterisks2 for snow, lines to mark off areas of equal pressure. "They were just hieroglyphics3 as far as everybody was concerned," Allen says. "Why was a triangle a rain shower?"

20世纪70年代初,在诺维奇艺术学院念书的马克·艾伦(Mark Allen)每天下午都会看英国广播公司(BBC)的天气预报。当时电视主持人在金属地图上摆弄带吸铁石的符号:点状物代表下雨,星号代表下雪,用线条标记大气压同等的地区。“人们会觉得这些符号不好懂。”

For his final project in 1974, Allen set out to make weather icons4 more intuitive. He looked to a set of pictograms by Otl Aicher, who devised spare, thick-lined figures for the 1972 Olympic Games. Allen used a similar style to trace a puffy cloud, adding simple icons to the bottom edge: rain droplets5, lightning bolts, rays of sun. "The main vehicle was the cloud, and I hung everything off that," he says. The BBC adopted Allen's iconography in 1975, in exchange for 200 pounds and a small percentage of license6 fees. His drawings stayed on the air for 30 years.

1974年,艾伦的毕业设计令天气符号显得更加直观。他参考了奥托·艾舍(Otl Aicher)的一套小图标——艾舍为1972年奥运会设计了一系列简单、粗线条的人物标记。最后,艾伦使用类似风格画出一块蓬松的云朵,在底部补充了一些简单的符号:雨滴、闪电、阳光。“最主要的载体是云朵,然后把其他东西附在上面,”他说。1975年,BBC以200镑和极小的分成比例买下了艾伦这套符号的使用权。他所绘制的符号在电视上出现了30年。

They were neither the first nor the last weather icons, but they were perhaps the most elegant. For decades, weather maps had been cluttered7 with technical notation8. The first commercial weather map, sent out by the U.S. Weather Bureau in 1910, represented cloud conditions with empty and filled circles and the wind with tiny arrows. By 1912, these maps were reproduced in more than 100 cities. The symbols grew less obscure, says Mark Monmonier, a historian and geographer9 at Syracuse University, when competition among wire services, which started sending out weather maps in the '30s, led to simpler, more attractive designs.

它们并不是第一组天气符号,也不是最后一组,但它们或许是最简洁优美的一组。几十年来,气象地图上乱糟糟地堆满各种技术符号。1910年,美国气象局发行了第一份商业气象地图,用空心和实心的圆圈来代表云层分布状况,用小箭头来代表风。1912年,这些地图在100多个城市再版。20世纪30年代,各大通讯社之间展开竞争,雪城大学的历史学家兼地理学家马克·蒙莫尼尔(Mark Monmonier)说,它们纷纷刊登气象图,因此所用的符号不再那么含糊,开始使用更简单、更有吸引力的图标设计。

Weathermen often drew their maps as cameras rolled, using wax pencils or felt-tip markers, until the 1970s, when, as Allen's weather icons were adopted at the BBC, U.S. stations tried their own stick-on, magnetic symbols. The advent10 of computer graphics11 in the 1980s brought more standardized12, low-res icons: "You only had 16 colors that you could put on the graphic," says Mike Nelson, a Denver meteorologist who worked for a company called ColorGraphics Weather Systems. "You couldn't be all that creative."

面对镜头,天气播报员经常用蜡笔或记号笔在气象图上勾画,20世纪70年代,艾伦的天气符号被BBC采用的同时,美国电视台也开始使用它们自己的磁铁天气符号。20世纪80年代,电脑制图的出现带来了更多标准化的、低解析度的天气符号:“只有16种色彩可以上色,”丹佛的气象学家,在“彩图气象系统”公司工作的麦克·尼尔森(Mike Nelson)说,“所以没法太有创意。”

By the late 1980s, computer systems were advanced enough that stations could select their own custom-made graphics. And when weather forecasts made their way to websites and mobile apps, things became even more customized. Around 2000, a government meteorologist in Texas named Dennis Cain made a set of icons from photographs — rainy streets, wind turbines, headlights in the fog — which became the standard images on weather.gov.

到20世纪80年代末,电脑系统有了长足的进步,电视台可以选择自行定制的天气符号。当天气预报出现在网络和移动应用上之后,这些符号就更加个性化了。2000年前后,得克萨斯州一个名叫丹尼斯·凯恩(Dennis Cain)的政府气象学家用照片做了一套符号——下雨的街道、旋风、大雾中的汽车灯光——它们成了weather.gov网站的标准符号。

Like other weather icons, Cain's have fierce adherents13. When the National Weather Service said it might swap14 the photo icons for more conventional figures, it received 18,000 comments in the first few days — most angry. The BBC faced similar outrage15 when it retired16 Allen's icons in 2005. Weather symbols "can get very controversial very quickly," says Robert Bunge, who was the director of Internet services for the National Weather Service at the time. "You can get buried in it."

和其他天气符号一样,凯恩的符号也有不少拥趸。当国家气象服务中心声称可能会用更传统的符号换掉这套照片符号后,一天内就收到18000个评论,大多数都对此表示愤怒。2005年,BBC换掉艾伦那套符号时也面临了同样的愤怒。天气符号“会迅速引发争议”,国家气象服务中心当时的主管罗伯特·邦格(Robert Bunge)说,“争议激烈到能把你埋起来。”

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