FOR SALE: Storm Hawk for Christmas

Mike Smith

Want an ideal Christmas gift? Consider Storm Hawk®.

[Broken External Image]:http://www.stormhawk.com/images/SHreporter.gif



Storm Hawk uses GPS to center the weather on your location, wherever you are. If you are in motion, the Storm Hawk screen rotates with your direction of travel at the top, so you can see what you are driving into.

Storm Hawk displays radar, lightning, temperatures, wind vectors (speed and direction) and NWS latitude and longitude warnings with complete warning text. It alerts you if you are in or within 10 miles of the lat/lon warning polygon. If you “touch†a weather station, additional parameters (such as dew point) for that station are displayed. In addition to the Federal network, we display Oklahoma Mesonetwork and Kansas Turnpike’s RWIS network with additional stations coming on line. The radar is a mosaic. The NWS lat/lon warnings work well to indicate the threat areas.

Storm Hawk is built around the iMATE PDA that includes a built in camera (still and video) and cell phone. We have developed software that automatically time and lat/lon stamps the photos. With a PDA-based system, it is easy to get out of your car and view the data.

A patent pending feature of Storm Hawk is the ability to file storm reports from the field. You can report tornadoes, hail, wind speeds, snow depths and other “ground truth.†This feature is offered only to qualified users and at no additional cost as a public service. We are working with the National Weather Service to generate real time emails to the appropriate offices as reports come in.

Storm Hawk is economical: $1,495 (plus tax) for hardware.

Monthly service:

WeatherData receives $9.95 for data and software updates.

Communications:

T-Mobile is $29.99 per month for unlimited data or, if you have a voice account with them, unlimited data is $19.99 per month. A coverage map is available at:
www.t-mobile.com/coverage/Default.asp

Cingular has the same cost structure as T-Mobile. Their coverage map is located at: www.cingular.com/business/gprs_edge_coverage/0,,,00.html and Storm Hawk works in both the “EDGE†and “GPRS†coverage areas.

We work with other carriers, please inquire about their rates.

To order or for more information, please call (800) 999-2075. We take Visa and MasterCard. Please mention Storm Track in order to qualify for the free “Reporter†software.

Storm Hawk is covered by U.S. Patents 6,351,218; 6,405,134; 6,603,405 and 6,646,559 with additional U.S. and foreign patents pending.
 
Storm Hawk

I'm not sure I would consider those costs as economical.

I would find it a little more attractive if I had my own choice as to what hardware I want to use for the service. Restricting it so tightly to one particular PDA/phone combo would turn me off immediately. Just my opinion.

Having said that, the other features sound decent enough; however I would want to have the ability to turn on/off the feature that rotates the map automatically to match direction; I'm personally quite comfortable working with a map that doesn't rotate.

I'll be interested in hearing about experiences with this product from other users.
 
Appreciate the feedback.

Let me make a couple of comments about cost. In addition to being an incredible weather tool, you have all the functions of a PDA: Web surfing, email, calendar, etc. Please consider what the cost of a small laptop + GPS + digital camera + cell phone would be if purchased separately.

Both the monthly cost and the hardware cost (when you consider the price of a laptop) are far below Wxworx.

Jim Reed has been using the product for his storm photography trips to rave reviews. NSSL used it for several storm chases this spring.

Outside of the meteorological community it is getting great reviews. If you wish to email me at [email protected], I will forward some information to you from other users.
 
Let me make a couple of comments about cost. In addition to being an incredible weather tool, you have all the functions of a PDA: Web surfing, email, calendar, etc. Please consider what the cost of a small laptop + GPS + digital camera + cell phone would be if purchased separately.

Fair enough comparison, however I already have a laptop, a GPS, a PDA and a decent cell phone (not to mention a digital camera etc.); I suspect a large number of us here on this forum do. Having all of these combined in one unit might be attractive for some; however considering the current lifespan of cellphone units I'm not sure everyone would want to shell out those kinds of beans. One should also consider how WELL an integrated unit does all of those things. This opinion will vary from user to user.

The point I was trying to make is that it might be a little more competitive product if I could simply subscribe to the service, get whatever software is required and run it with my current hardware setup, which I am entirely satisfied with. You did make a good comparison with WxWorx, however in your case you are using the cellphone network as the medium and therefore a satellite rx isn't required.

I don't want to appear TOO negative towards a product I've never seen or used, however these are the kinds of things that would steer me away from something like this initially. Too bad, because it looks like the actual software product looks quite feature rich and useful.

I'll back off from here and see what other people have to say. BTW, shouldn't this topic be preceeded by a FOR SALE: heading? This essentially started out as an ad....
 
John and all,

Thanks again for the feedback. Let me share some information that might be helpful.

If one is going to invent and design a new product, how best to do it? Most of our Storm Hawk customers are not storm chasers, so they want something that is easy to use. That argues for an integrated approach.

But, when considering at the storm chase market, I looked back on my 30+ years of chasing and weather photography and thought, "OK, how do I make this something that is really a step up in functionality that adds something new and valuable?" I don't know about others, but in the heat of photographing a spectacular, but short-lived, meteorological phenomena I tend forget to document time and location. So, we developed software that automatically does it for the user.

There is the eternal question of "how do I get what I am observing to the National Weather Service or others so it can be used in warning decisions?" Many field reports never get to the NWS, as we well know. So, we have created something that makes it extremely easy to file reports with a goal of creating real time data plots like the accompanying image, with the lat/lon data embedded in the data stream. [Broken External Image]:http://www.warning.tv/images/report_sw.jpg

It is likely true that most members of this group have the various components. But, how would you get those components to work together to, say, embed the lat/lons? It might be possible, but it would be difficult and not very elegant. We decided to make this easy for our customers and put it in the palm of our user's hands, so it can be used outdoors, on a job site, a campground or while traveling. Whether we are successful is something the marketplace will ultimately decide. But, this gives everyone some insight as to why we have made the decisions we made.

Keep sending the feedback our way. We appreciate and value it!

Mike
 
No disrespect but from what I can see and what I have heard and read on this forum you cannot always rely on a mobile phone signal to be there when you need it.
I have read on this forum that when you get away from the main highways finding a compatible signal can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Even here in the UK there are areas wher mobile coverage can sometimes drop out. I have one example about a mile away from me where only one networks phones will work but just down the road 1/2 mile they all work. Not much good in an emergency.
PDAs with blue tooth, Wi-Fi and cell phones all add up to short battery life as well.
Interested in comments regarding this issue.
 
Mike,

Thanks for the comment.

The battery life is about 1.5 hours per charge. We sell an extender battery that takes it to more than three hours. Of course, if you keep it on a car charger, battery life is rarely a problem.

W/r/t the cellphone network, there are coverage maps with my original post. We sell a satellite phone version ($1,850, all inclusive; plus tax) that works anywhere, but the monthly fees are much higher (~$90/month).
 
Mike
Interesting comments, thanks for your reply.
I have most of the equipment you mention.
My PDA an Ipaq has a Bluetooth jacket, runs a CF gps system for my mapping software. The Bluetooth links to my Sony T610 mobile phone which has bluetooth, Camera and WAP.(Virgin)
I run a seperate Garmin Etrex GPS linked to an APRS link on my Ham equipment.
The laptop is again equiped with a Wi-Fi Card, backup usb GPS, cellphone card used only for data,but on a different network to the bluetooth phone.
My employers have also provided me with a Nokia Communicator the enables me to receive/sent Fax as well as e-mail.(Vodaphone)
Alright it is a lot of electonics but at the end of the day there is at least a back up system if any other form of communications goes down. Power outages spring to mind. or even worse battery failure be it vehicle or portable device.
Sorry but I would have to win the lottery to invest in your equipment, even if there was a way of using it in the UK.
I think that you need to look at a way of marketing the Software only side of it as well.
I suspect a lot of the Guys and Girls who chase in the US might agree with some of my comments- and like me - already have most of the equipment too run the software already.[/quote]
 
Mike and All,

We do sell the software only for $500. I works on a PDA that runs the Microsoft Mobile operating system. Our sales consultants at (800) 999-2075 can tell you what PDA's it works well on and which it does not (processor speeds and memory). We can also sell a GPS if anyone needs one.

Mike
 
Not really a comment, but I can't stand the media/public's obsession with "smoothed" radar data. Yuck! Oh well, not all of us are radar meteorologists ;).

Aaron
 
Mike,

When will you be expecting to get a laptop version of this working? Or can you install it on a laptop already?

Also I'm interested on who is doing the development for this product. Is the development being farmed out or is this the collaboration of a few dedicated programmers?

I'll edit if I have any more questions...
 
Ed,

Because Storm Hawk works with the Microsoft Mobile Operating System, it does not work on a laptop.

We have a laptop program called StormSight, but it does not work with GPS. Please email me at [email protected] if you would like information about StormSight.

Thanks for your interest!

Mike
 
Ed,

Forgot the second part of your question. All of our products are developed by our internal IT department.

They are a very talented group!

Mike
 
TV radar

Not really a comment, but I can't stand the media/public's obsession with \"smoothed\" radar data. Yuck! Oh well, not all of us are radar meteorologists .

Blame the consultants! The station with the most areas of red on the radar must be the best. :roll:
 
Smoothing's benefit

... is mainly to aid the viewer when you zoom in to show specific detail. Granted it's not what we use off-screen, but run a loop of radar over a county map without smoothing it, and watch the phone calls pour in.

And to a certain degree, it's not actually "blocky" like that in reality, either... :shock:

which is hard to explain to the average viewer.

It's like teaching Thanksgiving to First Graders... YOU know the truth, but you still gotta make it simple for them... all the while, you have history professors, sitting in the back of the class... itching to speak up!

"And we brought turkeys and syphilis to the natives!"

:wink:
 
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