Product Spotlight: Galileo

Sep 9, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: Galileo weather graphics system from AccuWeather. The hardware and software system to create and display weather has been in development for three years.
How it works: Galileo is a PC-based graphics animation system that can produce weather graphics in a few seconds, said Michael Steinberg, senior VP of AccuWeather. Weather systems have previously been based on an SGI or UNIX platform, but as PC power has increased TV stations have turned more often to systems that run on PCs. “The system is very fast in rendering and creating graphics,” Mr. Steinberg said. “It’s partly because the PC has such a fast processor. It’s also because of how we designed Galileo software. It’s totally modular. That means we are able to create enhancements and new capabilities without creating problems elsewhere.”
The system, with a 2.4 GHz processor, contains discrete modules, which allow AccuWeather to add enhancements to one area of the system without concern that they could cause a bug in other areas. Advances in graphics and animation are occurring on PC platforms, so as new technologies are developed, AccuWeather can incorporate them into the system. “The system is so powerful you can go into a high-resolution 3-D environment with 0.6 meter resolution terrain map and move about and fly about in real time simply by moving the mouse around. That’s how fast it is.”
Features and benefits: Because of the processing power of the PC, the system enables users to update weather during a station break if need be, Mr. Steinberg said. “It frees up time and allows the meteorologist to spend more time on their weather presentation,” he said. “It lets them reflect on how to best present the weather.” The system also allows animation within animation. For instance, a user could overlay a five-day forecast on top of an animated background, Mr. Steinberg said. Galileo includes remote-access capability so that the station’s meteorologist can log on from home or from a laptop. The system is HDTV ready.
Availability: The system was in beta testing from October 2001 to May 2002. To date, 19 stations of the 42 that have ordered it have installed the system. Stations include KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and WJAC-TV in Johnstown, Pa.