Building Dynamic Cloud Maps From the Ground Up

Calvin Murdock, Nathan Jacobs, Robert Pless; The IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2015, pp. 684-692


Satellite imagery of cloud cover is extremely important for understanding and predicting weather. We demonstrate how this imagery can be constructed "from the ground up" without requiring expensive geo-stationary satellites. This is accomplished through a novel approach to approximate continental-scale cloud maps using only ground-level imagery from publicly-available webcams. We collected a year's worth of satellite data and simultaneously-captured, geo-located outdoor webcam images from 4388 sparsely distributed cameras across the continental USA. The satellite data is used to train a dynamic model of cloud motion alongside 4388 regression models (one for each camera) to relate ground-level webcam data to the satellite data at the camera's location. This novel application of large-scale computer vision to meteorology and remote sensing is enabled by a smoothed, hierarchically-regularized dynamic texture model whose system dynamics are driven to remain consistent with measurements from the geo-located webcams. We show that our hierarchical model is better able to incorporate sparse webcam measurements resulting in more accurate cloud maps in comparison to a standard dynamic textures implementation. Finally, we demonstrate that our model can be successfully applied to other natural image sequences from the DynTex database, suggesting a broader applicability of our method.

Related Material

author = {Murdock, Calvin and Jacobs, Nathan and Pless, Robert},
title = {Building Dynamic Cloud Maps From the Ground Up},
booktitle = {The IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
month = {December},
year = {2015}