Curious about the PIREP's map...


Subscriber Elite First Class
I am aware that the data is reported from various aircrews and am aware that the pilots discuss, among other things, the turbulence in their general flight area. But does the PIREP map get populated by a voluntary reporting or does ATC take a random sampling based on the chatter that is happening in their area to ensure a steady stream of data? And then is it a percentage indicator (each tick mark represents 10 reports) or more of a logarithmic indicator (the more tick marks indicate considerably more reports than a fewer number)?

Thanks in advance!


Staff member
Hi. I believe it's populated with some automated reporting (I know United had some automated units on aircraft for a while), and specifically when pilots report turbulence. I don't believe ATC takes a random sampling of chatter, but I know that SIGMETS and AIRMETS have been issued because of pilot reports.

The ticks are not logarithmic or anything like that, they are strictly linear. If the map is painted orange with PIREPS you know it's going to be a bumpy ride.

You can see the content of individual reports here:

and below is an example:

Urgent PIREP A332
Obs Time: 2017-01-23T17:20:00Z
Hazard: Turbulence
Intensity: MOD-SEV
Flight level: 250

Urgent PIREP: SBY UUA /OV SBY/TM 1720/FL250/TP A332/TB MOD-SEV/RM 250-210

Obs Time: 2017-01-23T16:50:00Z
Hazard: Turbulence
Intensity: SEV
Flight level: 260

Urgent PIREP: ADW UUA /OV OTT/TM 1650/FL260/TP B757/TB SEV/RM 260-280