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Last Updated: Friday, 13 May, 2005, 23:38 GMT 00:38 UK
Winds of change for BBC weather
One of the new maps

Virtual reality weather maps with realistic 3-D landscapes are set to revolutionise the BBC's forecasts.

The maps, to be used from Monday, are the biggest change to the way the weather is presented for 20 years, says the corporation.

They have been introduced after audience research found viewers felt the current graphics were out of date.

"The new system will introduce more realism, movement and clarity," said the BBC's lead presenter Helen Young.

"For the first time viewers will be able to see the sun shine and the rain fall on the weather map," she said.

She said complex weather situations would be depicted more clearly, and areas of particular interest could be zoomed in on much more closely.

The corporation said the technology was the biggest change since computer generated maps replaced magnetic symbols in 1985.

Scotland weather map
The maps will be used BBC-wide from this Monday

Colin Tregear, project director at BBC Weather Centre, said viewers would get the most up-to-date information in a way that is easier to understand.

"All the hallmarks of BBC weather - accuracy, authority and reliability - will remain but the forecasts will be more engaging and informative," he said.

The latest technology will allow more live forecasts and frequent updates to the weather website, the BBC claims.

The first TV forecasts featured charts, hand-drawn with wax crayons.

The new system, which will be introduced by weather forecaster Helen Willetts on Monday, will feature on all BBC television channels as well as the BBC weather website.

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