A CIESE Realtime Data Project

Teacher Guide: Using Real-Time Data


Background
Using Real Time images or data on the Internet instead of information out of a textbook not only engages students, but also brings a real world connection right into the classroom. 

Is it Real-Time?
Real Time data on the Internet does not necessarily mean that the information is available the moment it is collected, but rather any data or information that is updated on a regular basis and frequently changes. For example, new weather satellite images updated every hour are actually referred to as "Real Time data."  However, temperature data collected from 1972 to 1986 from weather balloons would not be considered Real Time because these data do not change.

When were the data last updated?
Most sources of Real Time data will have a clock or time stamp that shows the time and date the data were last recorded.  Frequently, the time is expressed in increments of 24 hours and as standardized universal time, such as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), etc. Students may have difficulty comprehending the difference between standard and local time so it might be worthwhile to review the following sites:

NOTE: If the images or data have not changed recently, you should first
click the Reload/Refresh button; this forces your computer to retrieve the most updated information on the Internet.