What is Sky View 360?

The Informatics Lab has been working alongside the Met Office College to deliver a virtual-reality prototype application to enrich the college’s courses.

The Met Office College delivers bespoke training courses and programmes to people from around the world for anything weather and climate related, including the Aeronautical Meteorological Observing Course. This course is delivered numerous times a year, predominantly to customers from UK civil and military airports and airfields, but also to the Met Office’s own trainee meteorologists.

There is a large practical element to the course which involves standing outside and looking at the sky. Trainees must be able to recognise different cloud types, amounts of sky coverage, cloud base height, weather types, intensities and associated visibilities.

When delivering this type of training the College is at the mercy of the weather. Often during a course there is little variation in the weather which limits the number of different conditions learners are exposured to.

We have solved this challenge in the Lab using low-cost virtual-reality headsets (e.g. Google Cardboard).

We are able to immerse students in various weather scenarios which can be chosen from an online catalogue, all delivered on-site in the classroom. The project is still very much in its infancy but we are already convinced that by using VR we can give the learner a more complete and immersive experience.