Mapping climate change in Germany

For MDR, we developed an interactive map visualizing climate change in Central Germany between 1961 and 2085.

Exploring climate change in Central Germany – on an interactive map

When will the next big heat wave be? Where has it been the driest in Central Germany in recent years, where will it be rainier in the future? In order to answer these questions, we developed a mobile-first map application with MDR, so that users can explore the local effects climate change has had and will continue to have. We chose a holistic approach to the development process: from concept workshop, design, and UI to data preparation and technology choice. By doing so, we were able to meet the goal of a sustainable, expandable map solution.

Developing a sustainable mobile-first web app

Periods of drought, floods, and storms – climate change has been omnipresent in everyday life in recent years. In order to give their users the chance to inform themselves about climate change in their region, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk planned a multimedia feature tackling the topic. With this feature, extensive climate data and relevant content can be combined on an interactive map – now and in the future.

How can such a complex topic be made accessible to a broad audience?

Bringing together the highest scientific standards and a diverse audience was a welcome challenge for us. Based on a concept workshop with the client, we developed a map application optimized for mobile use. Supported by a clear design and user interface, the extensive data that backs the app can be intuitively navigated and filtered even on small screens.

Data preparation and visualization

The application is based on extensive climate data provided by the Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture, and Geology (LfULG). We have translated the scientific data into a format tailored to modern visualization purposes, thus bridging the gap between GIS data and a broad audience.

Customized technological implementation

As a multimedia provider, MDR has its own hosting services, which gave us a lot of freedom in the choice of technology. The climate map features an independent technology solution that is based on a responsive React application. The map uses Mapbox's open-source framework in combination with self-hosted OpenStreetMap data. The focus on open source and freely available data allows for the long-term usage of the web app at no extra costs. In addition to hosting the map data, the MDR infrastructure also facilitates the easy integration of multimedia content into the map. This further increases the independence of the solution and ensures that the map can be easily expanded now and at any future point in time.

"The map is live and beautiful and I’m very happy about it!"

Daniel Schlechter, Editor at Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk

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