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Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Q: Why should I choose to use HurricaneMapping? How are its services different from other hurricane tracking options?

A: Unlike other storm tracking solutions that require highly specialized software programs, our datasets integrate easily and elegantly into Google Earth and ESRI's ArcGIS--mapping programs that you probably already know and use. HurricaneMapping's solution best leverages your existing knowledge, locally-built datasets, and investments in mapping software.

Q: How much do HurricaneMapping's subscription services cost?

A: HurricaneMapping's subscription services are affordably priced for the emergency management and business continuity communities. Annual subscription costs (under Single User License Agreement) are as follows:

  • KML subscription only - $150/year
  • Shapefile subscription only - $350/year
  • Combined KML and Shapefile subscriptions - $450/year

For Shapefile subscribers, our Shapefile Manager software and any upgrades are provided free-of-charge. Both subscription types also include free maintenance and technical support (24/7 during storm events).

Corporations and agencies are given 20% discounts off of the single user pricing if purchasing multiple subscriptions in bulk. We are also glad to negotiate specialized pricing arrangements for Enterprise customers who wish to incorporate and distribute HurricaneMapping data within their own database systems. Visit our subscription page to sign up for single user licenses or see this page for more information on our Enterprise program.

Q: I'm looking for a historical storm. How far back do your storm archives go?

A: We currently have posted all storm files from 2006 to present time, plus files for storms of significance going back to 1995. Contact us if you have an immediate need for data from an older storm and we will try to help.

Q: Does HurricaneMapping track storms worldwide?

A: Yes. Although most of our users will be interested the Atlantic and Gulf storms threatening the eastern US, our datafeeds also include storms in the East Pacific, Central Pacific, West Pacific, South Pacific, and Indian Ocean basins.

Q: How timely and reliable are HurricaneMapping's datafeeds when tracking live storms?

A: HurricaneMapping uses automated processes to rapidly ingest NHC, CPHC, and JTWC advisories and prepare the forecast data for Google Earth and ArcGIS. New KML and Shapefile advisories packages are typically ready about 5 minutes after issuance. The NHC often posts advisories 15-30 minutes before the hour, meaning that we have them ready for retrieval from before the 5am, 11am, 5pm, and 11pm issuance times as well.

We monitor our datafeeds 24/7 and are ready to intervene anytime there is an anomaly in the formatting of the issued advisories. You can expect the same gold standard of speed and reliability in HurricaneMapping's datafeed to which users of HURREVAC, our flagship hurricane-tracking software program, are accustomed.

KML datafeed FAQs

Q: How do I use HurricaneMapping's KML datafeed to track live storms?

A: We provide an Active Tropical Storms KML file that you save in your 'My Places' folder within Google Earth. When Google Earth is running and this network-linked layer is checked on, automatic updates will be retreived from on an hourly basis. Your Google Earth globe is refreshed with any new storms and updated advisories.

Q: How do I view an old storm advisory in Google Earth?

A: Using any web browser, login to and browse the Archived Storms section of our DATA ACCESS web page. Select the storm advisory of interest and click to download the KMZ(zipped KML) file. Choose 'Run' when prompted to save the file and Google Earth will list that storm advisory in your 'Temporary Places' and display it on the globe.

Shapefile datafeed FAQs

Q: Is HurricaneMapping's shapefile data distributed via a web map server or by some other means?

A: HurricaneMapping is neither a feature or image map service, but rather distributes data directly to your desktop in the form of ZIPPED file packages. A single zipped storm advisory package contains SHP, SHX, and DBF files for many map layers. Our Shapefile Manager utility will automate the download and unzipping process, plus help you monitor and preview storm tracks. This means quick delivery of the data you need and allows you a head start on time-critical briefings and presentations.

Q: Does HurricaneMapping define how its map layers are rendered in ArcMap?

A: Yes. We include one or more LYR files in the dataset so that ArcMap users can quickly bring up all map layers with logical symbology and labeling already defined.