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NCEI Data Tools Explained

Tiny tutorials make collecting and accessing data simple

Smartphone using the CrowdMag application on a path.
Courtesy of NOAA NCEI, Trinity Foreman

NCEI partnered with the NOAA Office of Education to develop two tiny tutorials to help share key data tools with educators and youth. This year, the CrowdMag phone application and Climate at a Glance were both featured and provide step-by-step guidance on how to get started collecting magnetic data and analyzing local climate data.

CrowdMag

CrowdMag is a citizen science project that uses your mobile phone’s internal magnetometer to record magnetic data as you move. Anonymous data collected through the application can be used to detect magnetic anomalies caused by objects in the surrounding environment and also helps inform NOAA science.

Here are the steps to start:

testing gif

Below, you can go through each step at your own pace:

Step 1: Download CrowdMag mobile application from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Step 1: Download the CrowdMag mobile application from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Step 2: Open the application and tap “Record” to begin recording your “magtivity.” It is best to do this outside while you move around. “Magtivity” is a magnetic activity recording that uses your phone’s internal magnetometer to measure the magnetic field of an area.

Step 2: Open the application and tap “Record” to begin recording your “magtivity.” It is best to do this outside while you move around. “Magtivity” is a magnetic activity recording that uses your phone’s internal magnetometer to measure the magnetic field of an area.

Step 3: Make sure to hold your phone out during the magtivity. Watch the data come in as you move around.

Step 3: Make sure to hold your phone out during the magtivity. Watch the data come in as you move around.

Step 4: Pay attention as you approach large metal objects (like bridges) to see how they change the color of your path. Different colors show changes in magnetic field readings.

Step 4: Pay attention as you approach large metal objects (like bridges) to see how they change the color of your path. Different colors show changes in magnetic field readings.

Step 5: When finished recording the magtivity, tap “Pause.” Then tap “Filter” to remove any noisy (or unexpected) data. These data will still be sent to NOAA, but will make your data visualization look cleaner.

Step 5: When finished recording the magtivity, tap “Pause.” Then tap “Filter” to remove any noisy (or unexpected) data. These data will still be sent to NOAA but will make your data visualization look cleaner.

Step 6: Save the event with a unique name for later reference. After you tap “Save,” the data will be sent to NOAA to help with their science!

Step 6: Save the event with a unique name for later reference. After you tap “Save,” the data will be sent to NOAA to help with our science!

Step 7: After recording, tap each dot to see the magnetic data. Blue dots indicate areas with a lower magnetic field value. Red dots indicate a higher magnetic field value. If dot colors are consistent, there aren’t any magnetic disturbances. Do red and blue dots correlate with objects in the area, such as a bridge, pipe, or powerline?

Step 7: After recording, tap each dot to see the magnetic data. Blue dots indicate areas with a lower magnetic field value. Red dots indicate a higher magnetic field value. If dot colors are consistent, there aren’t any magnetic disturbances. Do red and blue dots correlate with objects in the area, such as a bridge, pipe, or powerline?

Step 8: Tap “Settings,” then “Export my data” to export your data. You can email the data in a CSV format.

Step 8: Tap “Settings,” then “Export my data” to export your data. You can email the data in a CSV format.

Climate at a Glance

Climate at a Glance shows temperature and precipitation at local, regional, national, and global scales. The parameters can be adjusted to show monthly, seasonal, or multi-year averages. This tool promotes access to archived climate data from across the United States and around the world. 

Here are the steps to start:

 

testing gif

Below, you can go through each step at your own pace:

Step 1: Go to https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag

Step 1: Go to https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag

Step 2: Select “Country” from the top menu. Then select “Time Series.”

Step 2: Select “Country” from the top menu. Then select “Time Series.”

Step 3: Choose the month, years, state, and county that you are interested in. Click “Plot” to show your selected data.

Step 3: Choose the month, years, state, and county that you are interested in. Click “Plot” to show your selected data.

Step 4: The data shows the difference between the 20th-century temperature for the month selected across multiple years. You can hover your mouse over the graph for specific data points.

Step 4: The data shows the difference between the 20th-century temperature for the month selected across multiple years. You can hover your mouse over the graph for specific data points.

Step 5: Scroll down to see a table showing the average temperature for each year in the selected month. To download data, select from these formats: xml, csv, or json.

Step 5: Scroll down to see a table showing the average temperature for each year in the selected month. To download data, select from these formats: xml, csv, or json.

Step 6: Value: The average temperature for a specific month and year. Departure from Mean: How much the average for the specific month and year differed from the 20th-century mean for that month.

Step 6: Value: The average temperature for a specific month and year. Departure from Mean: How much the average for the specific month and year differed from the 20th-century mean for that month.

Step 7: To view seasonal differences, select “Time Scale: 3-month” and the last month of the season. For summer (June–August), select August. Click “Plot” to view the data.

Step 7: To view seasonal differences, select “Time Scale: 3-month” and the last month of the season. For summer (June–August), select August. Click “Plot” to view the data.

Be sure to check out the whole collection of tiny tutorials with data from many different parts of NOAA.

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