February 2nd is Groundhog Day in North America. A day when we look to small marmots to prognosticate the weather. If the groundhog sees its shadow when it emerges from its burrow, then it predicts 6 more weeks of winter, and if not, then spring begins today! Unfortunately there are many official weather predicting groundhogs. Fortunately, the excellent website Groundhog-Day.com tracks each of their predictions. Unfortunately, it doesn't tell you which groundhog to trust. Fortunately, it has an API and we can take the data and map it in Maple:

This map assumes that each groundhog's prediction is valid at it's exact geographic coordinates, but that it's predictive powers fall off in inverse proportion to the distance away.  So, exactly halfway between a groundhog predicting early spring, and one predicting 6 more weeks of winter, we expect 3 more weeks of winter.  I handle that with Maple's Interpolation:-InverseDistanceWeightedInterpolation command with a radius of 1500 miles.  I plot a contourplot of that interpolating function, and then display it with the world map in DataSets:-Builtin:-WorldMap to generate the image above.

All the code to do that can be found in the following worksheet which also using the URL packaget to fetch the most recent groundhog data possible from the website.


I've commented out a few lines that you might use to explore other possible maps.  You can filter to file to just include real living groundhogs and not all the other precitions (some from puppets, some from other animals) if you find that more trust worthy. You might also prefer to change the interpolation command, one of my collegues suggests that Interpolation:-NaturalNeighborInterpolation might be a better choice.

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