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Someone holding a mobile phone while using CrowdMag app on an outside path.

Tiny tutorials: Round two

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Welcome
What's a tiny tutorial?
Tiny tutorial: Climate at a Glance
Tiny tutorial: Crowdmag
Tiny tutorial: ERMA: Mapping for environmental response
Looking for more?

September is #DataMonth here at NOAA, and we're celebrating Earth science information. We want everyone to be able to understand and work with the data our agency collects on the ocean, atmosphere, and beyond. But we know that, when it comes to using a new online data portal, sometimes the first few clicks are the hardest.

We're back with a second round of tiny tutorials to help you break into NOAA data. These simple animations walk you through our data visualizations step by step.

From there, each data portal offers many variables and dimensions to explore. So roll up your sleeves, fire up your browser, and start exploring the ocean and atmosphere. 

Our first round of tiny tutorials featured tutorials on hurricane tracks, fire weather, and aurora forecasting. This time around, we're focusing on historical climate, a magnetic field citizen science project, and NOAA's online maps for environmental responders.

Climate at a Glance, from the National Centers for Environmental Information, shows temperature and precipitation at local, regional, national, and international scales. You can change your parameters to show monthly, seasonal, or multi-year averages. To learn more about how NOAA monitors climate on land, in the atmosphere, and in the ocean, check out the educational resources in our climate data monitoring collection.

Animated tiny tutorial on using Climate at a Glance from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Below, you can look through each step at your own pace.

Step 1: Go to https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag
Step 1: Go to https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag (NOAA Education)
Step 2: Select "County" from the top menu. Then select "Time Series."
Step 2: Select "County" from the top menu. Then select "Time Series." (NOAA Education)
Step 3: Choose the month, years, state, and county that you are interested in. Click "Plot" to show your selected data.
Step 3: Choose the month, years, state, and county that you are interested in. Click "Plot" to show your selected data. (NOAA Education)
Step 4: The data shows the difference between the 20th century temperature average and the average temperature for the month selected across multiple years. You can hover your mouse over the graph for specific data points.
Step 4: The data shows the difference between the 20th century temperature average and the average temperature for the month selected across multiple years. You can hover your mouse over the graph for specific data points. (NOAA Education)
Step 5: Scroll down to see a table showing the average temperature for each year in the selected month. To download data, select from these formats: xml, csv, or json.
Step 5: Scroll down to see a table showing the average temperature for each year in the selected month. To download data, select from these formats: xml, csv, or json. (NOAA Education)
Step 6: VALUE: The average temperature for a specific month and year. RANK: A ranking comparing all years, with "1" being the year with the lowest average temperature. DEPARTURE FROM MEAN: How much the average for the specific month and year differed from the 20th century mean for that month.
Step 6:
VALUE: The average temperature for a specific month and year.
RANK: A ranking comparing all years, with "1" being the year with the lowest average temperature.
DEPARTURE FROM MEAN: How much the average for the specific month and year differed from the 20th century mean for that month. (NOAA Education)
Step 7: To view seasonal differences, select "Time Scale: 3-Month" and the last month of the season. For summer (June - August), select August. Click "Plot" to view the data.
Step 7: To view seasonal differences, select "Time Scale: 3-Month" and the last month of the season. For summer (June - August), select August. Click "Plot" to view the data. (NOAA Education)

CrowdMag is a citizen science project that uses your mobile phone. Created by the National Centers for Environmental Information, the CrowdMag app uses your phone's internal magnetometer to record magnetic fields as you move around outside. You can explore the data you collect and see if you can match up magnetic anomalies with objects in your environment. Learn more about Earth's magnetic fields from the NOAA Geomagnetism group.

Animated tiny tutorial on using the CrowdMag mobile app from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Below, you can go through each step at your own pace.

Step 1: Download the CrowdMag mobile application from Google Play or the Apple App Store.
Step 1: Download the CrowdMag mobile application from Google Play or the Apple App Store. (NOAA Education)
Open the application and tap “Record” to begin recording your “magtivity.” It is best to do this outside while you move around.

“Magtivity” is a magnetic activity recording that uses your phone’s internal magnetometer to measure the magnetic field of an area.
Open the application and tap “Record” to begin recording your “magtivity.” It is best to do this outside while you move around. “Magtivity” is a magnetic activity recording that uses your phone’s internal magnetometer to measure the magnetic field of an area. (NOAA Education)
Make sure to hold your phone out during the magtivity. Watch the data come in as you move around.
Make sure to hold your phone out during the magtivity. Watch the data come in as you move around. (NOAA Education)
Pay attention as you approach large metal objects (like bridges) to see how they change the color of your path. Different colors show changes in magnetic field readings.
Pay attention as you approach large metal objects (like bridges) to see how they change the color of your path. Different colors show changes in magnetic field readings. (NOAA Education)
When finished recording the magtivity, tap “Pause.”

Then tap “Filter” to remove any noisy (or unexpected) data. These data will still be sent to NOAA, but will make your data visualization look cleaner.
When finished recording the magtivity, tap “Pause.” Then tap “Filter” to remove any noisy (or unexpected) data. These data will still be sent to NOAA, but will make your data visualization look cleaner. (NOAA Education)
Save the event with a unique name for later reference. 

After you tap “Save,” the data will be sent to NOAA to help with their science!
Save the event with a unique name for later reference. After you tap “Save,” the data will be sent to NOAA to help with their science! (NOAA Education)
After recording, tap each dot to see the magnetic data. 

Blue dots indicate areas with a lower magnetic field value. Red dots indicate a higher magnetic field value. If dot colors are consistent, there aren’t any magnetic disturbances.

Do red and blue dots correlate with objects in the area, such as a bridge, pipe, or powerline?
After recording, tap each dot to see the magnetic data. Blue dots indicate areas with a lower magnetic field value. Red dots indicate a higher magnetic field value. If dot colors are consistent, there aren’t any magnetic disturbances. Do red and blue dots correlate with objects in the area, such as a bridge, pipe, or powerline? (NOAA Education)
Tap “Settings,” then “Export my data” to export your data. You can email the data in a CSV format.
Tap “Settings,” then “Export my data” to export your data. You can email the data in a CSV format. (NOAA Education)

 

The Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) is an online mapping tool from the Office of Response and Restoration, which integrates data, like habitats, weather, and currents, into one location for experts responding to environmental disasters like hurricanes or oil spills. Explore more educational resources in our oil spills and hurricanes collections. 

Animated tiny tutorial for accessing information from the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA) mapping tool.

Below, you can go through each step at your own pace.

Step 1: Go to https://erma.noaa.gov and select a region. 
The Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA) is a mapping tool that can be used to explore data related to environmental and emergency response.
Step 1: Go to https://erma.noaa.gov and select a region. The Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA) is a mapping tool that can be used to explore data related to environmental and emergency response. (NOAA Education)
Step 2: Click "Bookmark Views" to explore highlighted datasets.
Step 2: Click "Bookmark Views" to explore highlighted datasets. (NOAA Education)
Step 3: Expand Deepwater Horizon data and select "Marine Mammal Aerial Observations."
Step 3: Expand Deepwater Horizon data and select "Marine Mammal Aerial Observations." (NOAA Education)
Step 4: The "Layers" tab shows what datasets are visible in this collection.
Step 4: The "Layers" tab shows what datasets are visible in this collection. (NOAA Education)
Step 5: The "Legend" tab shows what the icons mean. A red kite (red diamond shape with a black dot in the center) means there is a photo.
Step 5: The "Legend" tab shows what the icons mean. A red kite (red diamond shape with a black dot in the center) means there is a photo. (NOAA Education)
Step 6: Click a red kite to view a photo from that location. Click the photo to enlarge it.
Step 6: Click a red kite to view a photo from that location. Click the photo to enlarge it. (NOAA Education)
Step 7: Explore more emergency response data in ERMA!
Marine Debris: Explore spatial data for regional marine debris emergency response.
Weather: Find forecasts, radar data, and information on major weather events.
Step 7: Explore more emergency response data in ERMA! Marine Debris: Explore spatial data for regional marine debris emergency response. Weather: Find forecasts, radar data, and information on major weather events. (NOAA Education)

 

Explore the first round of tiny tutorials

If you want even more data resources from NOAA, check out our collection of data resources for educators. There, we highlight ocean and atmospheric data sources that are easy to use and appropriate for classrooms, informal learning environments, and anyone who is interested in learning more.

Did you try our tiny tutorials? Let us know what you thought and if they worked for you. Do you have a request for the next tiny tutorial? Email us at education@noaa.gov or contact us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or LinkedInoffsite link

Published on
September 18, 2020