Gallery 3

Painting with Data

Photo of Painting with Data exhibit

Scientists build up an image of how our world works by collecting data of different areas and combining it together.

How it works

Select different data sets and paint them across the map to reveal the behaviour of our atmosphere, oceans and Earth.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • Do you see any patterns in the data?
  • if you paint two data sets over one another, can you see any connection?


The Earth is observed by hundreds of satellites, many of which have special sensors and cameras to detect specific things. We also have hundreds of buoys, weather balloons, seismometers and radar dishes continuously measuring various weather and ocean systems around the world.

By combining all these different data sets together we can build a more detailed image of the Earth's atmosphere, geology and oceans. This helps us to understand the relationships between various systems and how they affect our climate and weather.

Finding the science in your world

Individual sets of data give a limited view of the world. Without combining multiple different areas together we don't get a complete picture. Patterns begin to emerge when you look at the data together and we are able to see connections between different areas, like ocean temperature and rainfall. This in turn allows us to more easily predict weather patterns and detect dangerous activity quickly, reducing the damage done and protecting people.