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While walking out of your house to office, did you ever give a second thought about carrying an umbrella and rely on the weather forecasts of newspapers? If yes, www.imd.ernet.in , the official website of the Indian Meteorological Department, is the perfect site for you to log on. The website contains a wealth of data related to weather, apart from seismic maps, earthquake data and other interesting features which are the other major attractions of the website. The website, if maintained and updated properly, will become the most important source of weather data of the country which any individual can access without any hindrance. The site may also be useful to GIS community as it contains useful weather data required for analysis.

The homepage depicts a map of India, though not of a very good quality, linking up the weather updates of the major Indian cities and not limited to the main metros of the country. The weather updates apart from providing the temperatures also provide forecasts about the weather conditions for the next 24 hours. This can be taken as reliable information as it is comes straight from the horses mouth i.e. The Indian Meteorological Department. The website provides the latest INSAT satellite imageries of India showing the current weather situation.

South-West Monsoons play a major role in deciding the fate of a major portion of the Indian subcontinent. Due importance has thus been given to the monsoons and the rainfall data in the country. Viewers can get maps showing situations of normal rainfall in the country and then compare it with rainfall maps of the previous week as well as seasonal rainfall maps upto previous week. Viewers may also find rainfall data in the form of poor quality scanned graphs. However, the information provided by these graphs is very useful. Another useful table in the site provides the rainfall conditions of the districts at the end of the monsoon season. The site also provides information about the history, mandate and the organisational setup of the Indian Meteorological Department. Viewers interested in understanding the technology running the IMD, can find plenty of food for thoughts. The site provides information about the surface observatories, the upper air stations, radars, world ozone observations (courtesy www.tor.ec.gc. ca/woudc), radiation observations and air pollution monitoring. Special focus has been given to the services provided by IMD to farmers and agricultural society, civil aviation, positional astronomy, shipping and fisheries, climatological services, environmental meteorology and hydrometeorology and flood forecasting is also well documented. A special section is concerned with the IMD’s role in Cyclone warning giving information about the tropical cyclones in India, Cyclone Warning Centres, Cyclone Monitoring and Cyclone warnings providing the latest satellite image of cyclone condition in the country.

A very important section of the website is the information related to seismology. The latest preliminary reports about the earthquake occurrences in the country, along with preliminary list of earthquakes of magnitude 5 and above for the current month as well as the previous months. Apart from that special seismicity maps, seismic zones map and earthquake data from 1819 to 1999 are documented in this site with special reference to the recent eathquakes in the country.

The website is a good source of information about Indian climate, but it needs a major face-lift before it matches the good international sites.Some of the maps of India which are in the form of images are distorted like the map depicting X-Band Weather Radar Network, Ozone Monitoring Network. The site provides links to other major meteorology sites in the world which brings out the fact that though the site is very good in Indian context, it has still to go miles before it becomes a reference site for others to follow suite. Apart from cyclone warning, special importance has to be given to other types of disaster warning systems and these sections have to be updated in day to day basis. Primary importance should be given to proper-scaled maps, which is the simplest ways to depict data to masses.