Software wishlist! If you could help design a weather application (mobile or desktop), what would you want to see in it?

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Garrett Weaver

Enthusiast
Feb 22, 2019
5
0
1
Olathe, KS
Hey y'all! My name is Garrett. Professionally, I am a programmer, but I have been chasing/spotting storms for years, and have impassioned with the field of meteorology for as long as I can remember.

I have lots of motivation for wanting to make a good weather app, but I am also wanting to make something that would actually be useful to you as weather enthusiasts/professionals, without reinventing something that is already done well. I know what I want and use, but I am curious what as to what you'd like to use!

So if there are things that you wished were available, or wish was done better, I'd love to hear about it! If anything, it would be interesting to talk about what your thoughts are on the current set of apps available (RadarScope, GRLevelX, AWIPS)
 

Todd Lemery

Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
475
457
21
54
Menominee, MI
A one stop shop for chase day of models, satellite, radar, mapping and tracking. My ultimate site or app would have roughly 50 different model loops that load quickly like Tornado Target. It would have GOES satellite. A must would be a fully functional radar like Radar Scope too. The mapping would include an option for you to save offline maps for when you lose signal. A built in route tracker would have to be there too, if only just for fun. All of this would include your current position on everything to make it more useful and functional.
As long as this is a dream, you would also get paid to use it. If that doesn’t work, being reasonably priced would be good too.
 

Garrett Weaver

Enthusiast
Feb 22, 2019
5
0
1
Olathe, KS
A one stop shop for chase day of models, satellite, radar, mapping and tracking. My ultimate site or app would have roughly 50 different model loops that load quickly like Tornado Target. It would have GOES satellite. A must would be a fully functional radar like Radar Scope too. The mapping would include an option for you to save offline maps for when you lose signal. A built in route tracker would have to be there too, if only just for fun. All of this would include your current position on everything to make it more useful and functional.
As long as this is a dream, you would also get paid to use it. If that doesn’t work, being reasonably priced would be good too.
Thanks for the input! I will put all of that under consideration!
 
Nov 18, 2006
1,233
317
11
Chicago, IL
Something that would allow you to track your GPS movements for the day and create a history trail. Bonus if there was a way you could download radar archives and then create an animation of your GPS icon's movements on a chase along with the radar loop. I know this can be done now but its a huge pain in the arse especially for the non tech savvy. I'd be the first customer in line if there was a simple application for this
 
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Garrett Weaver

Enthusiast
Feb 22, 2019
5
0
1
Olathe, KS
Something that would allow you to track your GPS movements for the day and create a history trail. Bonus if there was a way you could download radar archives and then create an animation of your GPS icon's movements on a chase along with the radar loop. I know this can be done now but its a huge pain in the arse especially for the non tech savvy. I'd be the first customer in line if there was a simple application for this
That's not a bad idea!
 
Mar 30, 2008
1,185
891
21
Norman, OK
www.benholcomb.com
The SpotterNetwork could use some help with development of mobile reporting apps. @John Wetter

The GPS log idea is pretty easy. I'm already incorporating it on a Google map on my website using gps logs I keep.Adding radar tiles to go over the map wouldn't be too bad of an idea I suppose.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
6,931
447
21
49
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
I vote for Ben's idea :) SpotterNetwork really needs something newer and better suited.

I'd be concerned about developing the Swiss Knife of apps :) When you try to do a LOT of things, often what ends up is you do an okay job at most of them, suck at a few, and are great at none. After the initial high of "Wow this app is great" wears off, then you find a better app to display model data, a better radar viewer, etc and you never use it again.

Concentrate on what things you can be GREAT at. It's going to take a LOT to beat Weather Lab / RadarScope as a radar viewer. Don't jump into that fray unless you're serious.
 
Jun 28, 2007
55
18
6
Scottsdale
If you have a map/road overlay with GPS, have real-time construction/closures/traffic flow as well as road types (dirt, paved). Most map overlays are weak and don’t pull data from states’ 511 road conditions.
 

Garrett Weaver

Enthusiast
Feb 22, 2019
5
0
1
Olathe, KS
I vote for Ben's idea :) SpotterNetwork really needs something newer and better suited.

I'd be concerned about developing the Swiss Knife of apps :) When you try to do a LOT of things, often what ends up is you do an okay job at most of them, suck at a few, and are great at none. After the initial high of "Wow this app is great" wears off, then you find a better app to display model data, a better radar viewer, etc and you never use it again.

Concentrate on what things you can be GREAT at. It's going to take a LOT to beat Weather Lab / RadarScope as a radar viewer. Don't jump into that fray unless you're serious.
Thank you, for that! I agree! That's one of the reasons why I am asking what other people see as deficiencies so I can focus on something.
 

Steve Miller

Owner
Staff member
Supporter
Jun 14, 2004
1,738
868
21
43
Moore, OK
www.stevemillerok.com
Something that would allow you to track your GPS movements for the day and create a history trail. Bonus if there was a way you could download radar archives and then create an animation of your GPS icon's movements on a chase along with the radar loop. I know this can be done now but its a huge pain in the arse especially for the non-tech savvy. I'd be the first customer in line if there was a simple application for this
I use the AllTrails app for my offroading adventures and I think it would do a fantastic job for chasers who want to record their route, log images, and quickly share. The only drawback is it's all smart device-based so uploading hi-res imagery from other cameras isn't a thing - yet.
Here is the output from a trail I drove last summer as an example: Yankee Boy
 

K. Gentry

EF0
Apr 12, 2019
23
16
1
NC
There can be 2-5 minute gaps between radar outputs, depending on the mode the radar is in. Not sure if it exists in some software already, but it'd be cool to have a real-time (and I mean every second) extrapolation of the radar data to fill in the gap between scan updates. I believe such would be a potential assist to chasers. I feel that TV mets could strongly benefit from a feature as such to better spatially interpret and communicate a threat. Also, it may help the reality to viewers at home of the approaching dangers at hand; that a storm is moving. The met can tell a viewer that the supercell is moving NE at 45mph, but all the viewer sees is a still image that could be 1-5 minutes old.
 
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
A few scattershot thoughts/ideas, in no particular order. Wondering if some of these exist already and I just don’t know about them, if so please let me know. Agree with @rdale that trying to do everything means doing nothing well and that we naturally gravitate toward best-of-breed in specific areas no matter how excited we might initially be about the “new app that does it all.”

1. Definitely agree on logging historical radar AND GPS position together

2. Radar that has the resolution of RadarScope but with Google Maps road detail that allows you to control the transparency of either so that you can emphasize one or the other as needed

3. A model display that allows you to overlay two or more models on top of each other; for example, comparing GFS and NAM 500mb on the same map instead of side by side (with ability to control transparency)

4. Regional model output that shows towns or cities for geographical reference

5. Something like the SPC mesoscale page that allows the overlay of various parameters based on actual / most recent obs where applicable/available, instead of RUC derived.

6. Radar as good as RadarScope but with the ability to layer in surface obs

7. Satellite as good as SatSquatch but with GPS position

8. Model site with greater consistency of available output from model to model. For example, on Pivotal Weather, not all of the same parameters are made available from NAM, GFS, RAP, etc. I understand Euro data being limited, but why should anything else be limited?

I’m sure I’ll think of more as soon as I post this 😏
 
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Jan 6, 2019
76
27
6
Tyler
Something that would allow you to track your GPS movements for the day and create a history trail. Bonus if there was a way you could download radar archives and then create an animation of your GPS icon's movements on a chase along with the radar loop. I know this can be done now but its a huge pain in the arse especially for the non tech savvy. I'd be the first customer in line if there was a simple application for this
Depending on the gps your using, that's already available.
Garmin download your tracks to local an upload to your web site or where ever.
Spot keeps a record of your tracks that you can download also.
Spot also has a live map if you want to share your current location and tracks.
Updating tracks varies from a couple of minutes to xxxx. I used 10 mins as seemed more suited for me.

Both of those i used to update my web site when exploring on motorcycle.
Using google maps, you can embed images and videos from along the way.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
6,931
447
21
49
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
it'd be cool to have a real-time (and I mean every second) extrapolation of the radar data to fill in the gap between scan updates.
That could be so extremely misleading in a severe weather event that I'd shudder to see anyone using that on-air. But to the original point - that's not a role of a phone app :)

The met can tell a viewer that the supercell is moving NE at 45mph, but all the viewer sees is a still image that could be 1-5 minutes old.
Then that met needs to stay off the air :) You would show a loop of where it has been going, and then use the storm pathcase to show where it is going. A 1-minute old radar image is MORE than adequate (heck - I'm from the era where radar 15-30 minutes old was considered "new" :) )
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
3,015
1,534
21
Westminster, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
2. Radar that has the resolution of RadarScope but with Google Maps road detail that allows you to control the transparency of either so that you can emphasize one or the other as needed
Seconded (or thirded, or whatever). Basically RadarScope needs improvements to include features that PYKL3 had (better zoom control and deeper zoom level as well as more detailed streets). Also agree with adding additional layers showing surface obs (all sources, including OKM and WTM).
 

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
1,953
246
11
39
Macomb, IL
www.tornadoguys.com
I'd like to see a phone app with models that is viewer friendly for use on a phone. I find the existing sites too cumbersome, but maybe that's because they're not good for projection onto smaller screens.

Radarscope needs to allow GPS icon tracking on the tablet and laptop versions.
 
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
I'd like to see a phone app with models that is viewer friendly for use on a phone. I find the existing sites too cumbersome, but maybe that's because they're not good for projection onto smaller screens.

Radarscope needs to allow GPS icon tracking on the tablet and laptop versions.
What about that “Windy” app I see posted to Resources (April 2019), has anyone tried that, is it any good? I haven’t tried it, but its description seems like it would be what you are looking for.
 
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Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
Can’t believe I didn’t include this in my earlier list, but none of the most popular model sites like PivotalWeather or COD allow for overlays of different parameters. Would be great to be able to visualize where the best CAPE/shear overlap, for example. Also I wish Pivotal would show a thumbnail map of where your selected sounding plot is, without having to click to see the map and then click again to hide the map and see the sounding (that’s the way it displays on my iPad anyway...)
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
3,015
1,534
21
Westminster, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
Can’t believe I didn’t include this in my earlier list, but none of the most popular model sites like PivotalWeather or COD allow for overlays of different parameters. Would be great to be able to visualize where the best CAPE/shear overlap, for example. Also I wish Pivotal would show a thumbnail map of where your selected sounding plot is, without having to click to see the map and then click again to hide the map and see the sounding (that’s the way it displays on my iPad anyway...)
That's what composite indices like SCP are meant for.
 
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
That's what composite indices like SCP are meant for.
True but it would still be nice to have a visualization of where one or more particular parameters overlap to assist with building a 3D picture in one’s mind; just looking (for example) at the SCP parameter is no different than looking at an SPC outlook without also looking at the underlying data.

SPC’s site has some overlay capability but my idea would take that to all models for any forecast hour.