How to create a wind map in ArcGIS

Wind maps are essential maps in the field of meteorology and oceanography. Creating a wind map requires representation of the wind magnitude and direction. The direction of the wind is defined by angles, while the magnitude is defined by the size of the symbols. A layer that representing either wind magnitude or direction can also be created. This section describes how to create a wind map from wind speed and direction data obtained from meteorological stations.

In this section, the wind map was created using ArcGIS 10.x, but the Golden Surfer application also provides powerful tools for your design. The steps are as follows;

Station UTMX UTMY Direction Speed
A 615380 9531496 22.5 15
B 616004 9533157 45 14
C 617620 9533808 90 12
D 619191 9532326 135 12
E 621295 9530663 112.5 5
F 622303 9533906 180 5
G 616992 9532169 22.5 13

The first step is to create point data (SHP file) from the table, through the Add XY Data tool. Interpolate the values of wind direction and speed to generate its respective raster using the Spatial Analyst Tool (with IDW, Kriging, Spline).

ArcToolbox > Spatial Analyst Tools > Interpolation

For the study area, generate a mesh of random or regular points (also could only display data from existing stations) with the Extract Multi Values to Point. This is to obtain a greater distribution of vectors against the points of the seasons.

ArcToolbox > Spatial Analyst Tools > Extraction

Get the values of the raster direction and speed on the new layer of mesh points.

ArcGIS mesh points

The next step is simply to display the magnitude and direction in the properties of the layer containing the mesh points in the Symbology tab. In the left corner side below Show: click on Quantities and select Graduated Symbols. For fields section (upper centre part of Layer Properties), using the drop down button on field Value, select field magnitude that contains the values of speed. At the bottom of Layer Properties page; click on Advanced, then Rotation.
Advanced> Rotation

Select the field that contains the values of the direction (flow in geographic coordinates). The size of the symbol and the number of classes can also be customized.

Symbology Layer Properties

To customize the symbolism of the arrow containing the flow direction, open the property editor symbol from;

Template > Edit Symbol > Character Marker Symbol > ESRI Cartography

Symbol Property Editor

Finally, select an arrow symbol and accept all open dialog boxes. Before printing or posting the wind map, it is recommended to follow all these steps for efficient and attractive design.

Wind Map ArcGIS

Reviewed by Esther Jones.

12 thoughts on “How to create a wind map in ArcGIS”

  1. Fredrick Juma says:

    This is Awesome. Can this be applied for real time simulations of wind data. Have you tired that to get a continous change for a longer period, and probably that can be published on a dynamic ArcGIS online. I will follow you on this subject.

    Juma (Nairobi, Kenya)

  2. Sam Lammie says:

    Great post Franz!

  3. Obehi Eguakhide says:


  4. Igor Nakolyushkin says:

    Remember how I did something like this in ArcView 3.2 using programming on Avenue… Many years ago…

  5. mohsen aliakbari says:

    Thank you very much franz.
    Your post was very usefull

  6. Mel says:

    This is awesome. I have been curious on the exact steps to do this since seeing wind-js and now I just have to figure out how to animate it with leaflet…

  7. Shiferaw says:

    It is very interesting job Franz.

  8. Azize MILLOGO says:

    Wonderful, This post come in handy! I was wondering how to do that just this afternoon in ArcGIS!. Thank you!

  9. Andry Yova says:

    I like to do with your website , especially with articles on GIS . Success for you…

  10. AnonGuy says:

    Wind direction is the direction it’s flowing from, not to. Your map is backwards.

  11. MANE says:

    Muy buena aportación Franz,

    Pero tengo una pregunta. El vector indica la dirección verdad? Entonces un viento que proviene del norte (0º) tendría que indicar la direcció hacia abajo no? En tu caso es al revés, indicas que un viento del sur (180º) está representando un viento que proviene del norte (Punto F).

    Entonces en las propiedades de representación del símbolo se tendría que rotar 180 grados en el apartado de “ANGLE” no?

    Saludos y gracias

  12. AkuSukaKamu says:

    This is cool, thanks, this help my job, thank you.

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