Tilted perspective weather maps are no longer used by the BBC

31 January 2023
What was claimed

TV weather maps have shrunk Scotland and grown England over the years.

Our verdict

The image labelled “nowadays” was taken in 2006, and shows BBC weather graphics which are no longer in use. The BBC currently uses a “flat” perspective map for its UK weather forecasts.

A Facebook post claims that “TV has shrunk Scotland and grown England over the years” by changing the style of its weather maps.

The post illustrates this claim by showing an image of an old weather map taken in 1970 and a more modern BBC weather map, which supposedly makes Scotland appear smaller in relation to England.

The image of the map labelled “nowadays” was actually taken in 2006, and the tilted graphics it shows are no longer used by the BBC, which currently uses a map with a flat perspective similar to that seen in the older map.

The ‘tilted’ perspective map seen in the 2006 image was introduced by the BBC in 2005 as part of an overhaul of its weather graphics which reportedly became the subject of complaints after some viewers said they “induced seasickness and made Scotland look smaller.” 

The size of Scotland on the new map was also raised in Parliament by SNP MP Angus Macneil in May 2005, who called for the BBC to rethink the graphics.

At the time, a BBC spokesperson said: “Central to the new look is a 3-D globe because the old graphics were considered dull and flat by the audience.

"Scotland is actually no smaller than on the old 2-D maps, but with the new 3-D forecast, the bottom part of the map (the south) is closer to the viewer.

"However, the forecast works its way around the entire country, and for the first time the new system enables us to give viewers a detailed, close up of the weather on the ground in Scotland and elsewhere.”

The Evening Standard reported at the time that the map was “straightened up” shortly after the new graphics were launched, so that Scotland and Northern Ireland would be “shown the right size and in proportion to the rest of the UK.”

However, the BBC was still using a tilted map until February 2018, when it introduced further changes to its weather graphics, including a return to ‘flat’ perspective maps, which continue to be used in weather forecasts today.

Image courtesy of Michal Bělka

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