I'm writing a smart-watch watch-face app with weather details. Since it's on a 1"x1" screen, I'm trying to keep all information as compact as possible. I'm using open weather map for my testing, and have pulled wind speed and gust, but don't know if there's a standard way of formatting a composite value. Currently, I express the following information

Direction: North
Speed: 8 (units per second is definable in user settings)
Gusts: 12 (defined in same units per second)


N 8:12

Which is not very descriptive and looks about like when I wake up. I'd like to use a meteorology standard if one exists. I'm pretty much limited to ascii unfortunately. Does such a standard way to present this information exist?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Who is your audience? $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Mar 24, 2016 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ I might not even put the gusts, as often (though not always) they are short-lived events that have already passed. If gusts are regular, they'll be somewhat reflected in the normal wind speed. I don't think there will be an easy way to have the general public understand those values without words? :-/ $\endgroup$ May 23, 2017 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


The colon could be problematic as its function is not directly clear in this context. Maybe you could try:

N @ 8 m/s | G: 12 m/s

or a little shorter:

N 8 (12) m/s

The way you created it should not be problematic. However, especially if you make it possible for users to chose the unit, the unit should always be displayed. Here, the standard way in meteorology is to use meters per second [m/s], which is also complying to the SI units (more info here).

The wind direction is often divided into two directional vectors, $u$ and $v$. However this is more science standard than industry standard as the ouput in degrees is more intuitive to interprete. In meteorology and climatology, the direction is only expressed in direction charcters (N, NE, E, ...) if the measurement or model output is not accurate enough to express it in directional degrees or if very exact values are not required, as for example in popular weather forecasts. (Notice that you can make it more exact by dividing the scale into smaller steps: Between N and NE, there is NNE, NEE, and so on).

  • $\begingroup$ Of course, m/s is standard in some scientific contexts, but mph, kph, and knots are more standard in usage and reporting :-) $\endgroup$ May 23, 2017 at 7:53

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