Tornado Channel was created as a viewing platform for storm chasers who stream their live video while chasing. Keeping a clean user interface and easy user experience was the sole vision for the design. Instead of a landing page, visitors land right on the Google Map which shows active storm chasers and weather data. The map has multiple weather overlays from the National Weather Service as well as live updated radar from Iowa State Mesonet.
A background PHP script runs on cron to poll the YouTube API to determine if a storm chaser is live. If the chaser’s YouTube channel is live, the script then retrieves their GPS position from Spotter Network and adds their position marker to the map. All map elements are updated in the background automatically. Chaser’s can login through oAuth providers to manage their account details.