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GRLevel3 vs. Mobile Threat Net

GRlevel3 runs $80. Threat Net runs $1180.

What are the advantages to going with Baron's product? And is it worth the price?

I know with Threat Net you get more than just software...

Thanks.
 
Putting these two products side-by-side is really comparing apples to oranges, since they both serve different purposes for different types of users.

ThreatNet is the solution if you need radar in your vehicle full-time, anywhere in the country. GRLevel3 is the best if you need high-resolution radar on your home computer. With GRLevel3, you need an internet connection, with Baron, you don't. If you're only doing local chasing where you always have a cell internet connection, then go with GRLevel3. If you need radar where there is no WIFI or cell coverage (IE, as in most chasing situations), Baron is the only way to go.
 
I guess what I wanted compared more than anything was just the applications themselves.

For chasing, both require a 3rd party connection to outside data that costs extra.

For instance what if GR accessed outside data the same way Threat Net does and they are on equal grounds as far as that is concerned. Then it comes down to just the apps themselves.

Can the extra $1000 be justified then?

Thanks,

Jon
 
Originally posted by Dan Robinson
If you need radar where there is no WIFI or cell coverage (IE, as in most chasing situations)

Sorry but that isn't true for everyone and it's becoming less true every month.

If you want a true test before you buy either one then go on a chase and every time you stop look at your cell phone. Figure out how many times you have ZERO bars. If you find that it's "most times" then you probably need ThreatNet. If you are like me and it's "almost never" then there's no point paying $1000 for less product.

If GR had access to an always-on satellite connection there would be no contest. It's the fact that it DOES NOT that makes ThreatNet a tempting alternative. If nothing else I hope GR pushes Baron to make some much needed improvements...but I won't hold my breath.

I'll be running a real world test earlier in the year when I take my cellphone+amp rig to the plains for a week of chasing. I'll post REAL data then about how usable a design is without satellite access.

-Tyler
 
Originally posted by Tyler Allison

If GR had access to an always-on satellite connection there would be no contest. It's the fact that it DOES NOT that makes ThreatNet a tempting alternative. If nothing else I hope GR pushes Baron to make some much needed improvements...but I won't hold my breath.

-Tyler

I agree... The entire advantage of WxWorx is that it is ALWAYS on -- you don't have to worry about having a cell connection, etc. If we only look at the software itself, there is no question that GR3 is the better piece of software. You can get full-resolution (i.e. not heavily degraded) Level III radar data, including the 4 reflectivity tilts, 4 radial velocity tilts, 4 storm-relative vel tilts, VIL, Echo Tops, Composite Reflectivity, and so forth. In addition, GR3 has street-level mapping, GPS support and weather warnings (polygon graphics and full text, including severe weather statements). As for other sources, you can add a bunch of other data -- for example, Tyler and I both have scripts to display METARs / Surface observations, SPC products (Day 1/2 convective outlooks, probability products, watch outlines, etc), and so forth. GR3 lets you add data sources (dynamic or static) as you want, through the use of Dynamic Placefiles. For example, I have a placefile to display all Skywarn ham radio repeaters in Oklahoma. Folks are also working on satellite product overlays now as well.

All that said... The entire advantage of WxWorx is that it is "always on". I guess it depends upon your budget... I don't find WxWorx to offer enough benefit (well, the only benefit I see is the always-on) to justify the cost. Again, people and different budgets, and I'm a grad student who's getting married and honeymooning this summer, so my budget isn't particularly healthy. If you can afford it, I suppose WxWorx would be the easiest option. If we only look at software and forget the data acquisition method, I cannot believe many would choose Baron's product over GRLevel3.

For what it's worth, I've had full data during my last 3 chases (in southern KS, in sw OK and nw TX, and in nw OK). I'm not sure I think it's fair to say that GRLevel3 is limited to "at home" connections.
 
Originally posted by Jon Gossin
GRlevel3 runs $80. Threat Net runs $1180.
What are the advantages to going with Baron's product? And is it worth the price?
I know with Threat Net you get more than just software...
Thanks.

This is the way I look at it.

Many people seem to think GRlevelX is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's good, don't get me wrong. However....

Many times over the last two years I found myself in a scenerio where I am in the middle of NE, or SD, and I have no data. No cell phone signal, analog or roaming. How am going to get radar/warnings/satellite? Without spending the money for a satellite? Answer: WXWorx.

KS and OK may have good/decent data coverage. You look at SD and NE, and even parts of IA, there are many places you have little to no coverage. Last year there were a number of times I sat on/near the Sisseton Ridge and I had little to no data. GRlevelX suffers from the same issues that SwiftWX does - you need internet for it to really be useable. If you want data on a constant basis and can afford it, then WxWorx is the way to go. However, in my use, I have found that you can not always get data when you want it or need it. While GrlevelX is great, I personally prefer to use WxWorx when I am in the field.

If you want to go GlevelX, then do what Tyler says - look at the times of when you use it. If you don't have phone coverage or data, and you find yourself going "dang, I wish I had data right now!" then perhaps you should look into WxWorx. If you figure in the cost of the antenna, and the data plans, and the cell phone, and the amplifier, then I am guessing you are getting pretty close to the cost of WxWorx anyways. (note, I haven't priced out amps and antennas in about 18 months, so costs may have decreased!) So it's kind of a crapshoot - which one do you personally prefer.

For the most part, when I want data I can still use my sprint connection and get the latest SPC outlook, or the latest watch info. Or I can call a nowcaster if need be. Sometimes you don't even need data. There are times you can just look at the sky and go "That's the storm....screw data and screw everyone else!" and end up bagging a nice rope.

Over the last year I have used WxWorx, I have discovered it to be an invalueable resource, and one I look forward to using for an extended period of time.
 
Eric's right. I hope I didn't sound like I was diminishing GRlevel3, it is a great product. I guess what I mean is that if having the data full-time, everywhere on a chase is critical, WxWorx is the only way to accomplish that - especially on the Plains. While I agree that GRLevel3 blows ThreatNet out of the water on quality, resolution and availability of products (velocity, tilts, etc), if you don't have a cell connection and you need a radar image right then (that will happen a lot on the Plains), it won't help you in those situations.

I guess it comes down to where your chase territory is and what the cell coverage is like. If you have cell coverage most everywhere you chase, or if you can deal with occasionally not having data in remote areas (sometimes at critical moments), then GRlevel3 is the better route.
 
But not only that, the question also is does the cell phone company even support data transfer through their services?

Many of you may recall last year when posted quite a bit about US Cellular and internet connection. Simply put, in the end many US Cellular Reps both local and regional office told me that their service didn't support data transfer at the time so internet connection wasn't possible.

I tried. I had a couple different data cables, I also upgraded to a better and newer cell phone when I contracted for another year. Nothing worked.

My parents are subscriber to Altell, I did borrow my mom's phone once... I was able to connect to the internet with her phone... however once I got into Oklahoma (not even 10 miles from the KS border) the connection died and it wouldnt reconnect.

So yes, cell phones can work good for the most part to dial in and get data - that is if you can actually find a local cell phone company that actually supports data transfer, and even then that will allow you to connect to the internet as long as you have signal.

I guess you could get a cingular wireless card for your laptop, I know I checked into this... but then again I wasn't about to sign a 2-year contract for what it cost to have that service. Take away the contract and then I will consider buying a Cingular card.

Anyways, that's my .02 cents.
 
Hope I am not too offtopic...

I have a GRlevel3 trial for now and would like to purchase original one. What are the features that original have against this trial version?

Also, which one is better, GRlevel2 or GRlevel3?

Thanks!
 
Originally posted by Tyler Allison+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tyler Allison)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Dan Robinson
If you need radar where there is no WIFI or cell coverage (IE, as in most chasing situations)

Sorry but that isn't true for everyone and it's becoming less true every month.

If you want a true test before you buy either one then go on a chase and every time you stop look at your cell phone. Figure out how many times you have ZERO bars. If you find that it's "most times" then you probably need ThreatNet. If you are like me and it's "almost never" then there's no point paying $1000 for less product.

If GR had access to an always-on satellite connection there would be no contest. It's the fact that it DOES NOT that makes ThreatNet a tempting alternative. If nothing else I hope GR pushes Baron to make some much needed improvements...but I won't hold my breath.

I'll be running a real world test earlier in the year when I take my cellphone+amp rig to the plains for a week of chasing. I'll post REAL data then about how usable a design is without satellite access.

-Tyler[/b]


If you go with the cell phone connection a map of data coverage is available at http://www.alltel.com/business/enhanced/mo...mobilelink.html click on coast to coast and you will find a national map of the data coverage alltel has to offer. The white area is not a "dead zone" just a area where only QNC speeds are possible (about 14 Kbps) which is actually enough to download 1 product in about 20-30 seconds. QNC, is available anywhere digital service is available.

My setup is that I have my phone tethered to the laptop and then a wilson antenna connected to the phone, I have yet to lose digital coverage with that setup and I live in a white QNC area.
 
Originally posted by Marko Korosec
Hope I am not too offtopic...

I have a GRlevel3 trial for now and would like to purchase original one. What are the features that original have against this trial version?

Also, which one is better, GRlevel2 or GRlevel3?

Thanks!

I don't know what if any updates Mike has done to the trial version but it has:

-Smooth Zooming
- Spectrum Width, VWP winds
- Placefiles (check out Allisonhouse for what you can get)
- GPS
- full-screen
im sure there is more but that seems to be a lot of the things that have been developed since I first got the trial version.
 
Threatnet displays more or less, Composite Reflectivity, than base reflectivity, and often makes miniscule cells, looks like beasts.
 
What they need to do is create a "data only" option, so that you can just request L3 and L2 NEXRAD, rather than all of that other crap (smoothed images, etc..). I wonder what the bandwidth of one of those satellites is?

It would be sweet to just get the data, and then use GRLevelWhateva to view the it.
 
Originally posted by Tyler Allison+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tyler Allison)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-rdewey

It would be sweet to just get the data, and then use GRLevelWhateva to view the it.

Somehow I think Mr. B would frown on XM doing that ;)[/b]

LOL! Good point :lol: :lol: <-- Deserves TWO laughs

Too bad Baron sucks though, but I guess then it wouldn't be as funny :roll: :lol:
 
Baron's Threat Net is the most smoothed, over any other radar program I have used/seen. Even GRLevel3 does not smooth the data that much...it completely distorts everything, and can bring hidden details away from the main cell.
 
Originally posted by rdewey
Interpolation, Mr. Kahn... Interpolation... :lol:

Mike has been making it a point to note that GR indeed does interpolate, not smooth. Regardless, there ARE time when turning on "smoothing" helps you see storm structure more clearly. I wish a had a good example readily available, but there are times when turning on "smoothing" does bring out some storm structure. I used to be pretty critical of GR "smoothing", but I've actually grown to like it. Again, however, note that GRs "smoothing" is more like interpolation, since it's not smearing the data. LOL Ask Mike, I think he posted something about it over in the GR forums.
 
Last year was the 1st time I'd chased with any kind of radar in the car (the ThreatNet) - we found it very useful in homing in on storms as they were developing, and also for determining whether we could take on the forward flank and come out (fairly) unbruised! I agree that the detail is not great, and once you've got into position, it's usually much better to go visual and use your storm experience etc to follow the storm, but the ThreatNet is certainly a useful tool, IMO.
 
I wonder what the bandwidth of one of those satellites is?

The XM receiver is receiving two of the XM “audioâ€￾ channels that are each 64kbps for an overall max bandwidth just shy of 128kbps because of encryption and error correction code.
One could argue about their bit budget and which products to distribute, but considering this is full contiguous coverage for the entire USA it is a pretty impressive feat. Baron’s could greatly improve the product just by adding SPC products. Surely watch boxes, MD’s and SWODY’s could not consume much bandwidth.
 
Mike has been making it a point to note that GR indeed does interpolate, not smooth. Regardless, there ARE time when turning on "smoothing" helps you see storm structure more clearly. I wish a had a good example readily available, but there are times when turning on "smoothing" does bring out some storm structure. I used to be pretty critical of GR "smoothing", but I've actually grown to like it. Again, however, note that GRs "smoothing" is more like interpolation, since it's not smearing the data. LOL Ask Mike, I think he posted something about it over in the GR forums.
[/b]

I read the Grlevelx forum note on this topic and they state you really have more accuracy with interpolation 'smoothing' turned on. Instead of smoothing and throwing away data it is actually using a somewhat sophisticated algorithm to determine how to average / draw the bits. Without it supposedly a lot is lost just looking at buckets alone.
 
There is another thread, on the forum, about this company.

http://www.raysat.com/Shopping/CategoryInf...?CategoryID=191

Hopefully high-speed internet is about to be available for a reasonable price. I will be anxious to hear what their monthly fees are going to be set at.


And from Mike on smoothing

I was pointed to a thread about smoothing on stormtrack.org tonight. There are a couple of points I've written about before but want to reiterate again:

1) If you want to see what the Nexrad is reporting then you should use the unsmoothed display. However, the unsmoothed display, aka. point filtering, is always the worst reconstruction of reality.

2) If you want to see the best reconstruction of reality then you should use smoothing. The smoothed display is always a better reconstruction of reality than the unsmoothed display.

These are mathematically provable facts.

Unsmoothed displays suffer from the highest amount of aliasing. For example, an unsmoothed bin of 60dbz will show as a 1km long area of purple, regardless of the dbz's in the surrounding bins. If the surrounding bins were near 60dbz, that would be fine. However, if the surrounding bins were 40 dbz then a more accurate reconstruction of reality would be for the purple area to be *much* smaller than 1km. Smoothing accomplishes this.

GRS currently uses bilinear filtering, which is only one step above point filtering in terms of quality. Bilinear filtering does not "blur" the data in any way.

One final clarification: I should have used "interpolation" from the beginning instead of "smoothing". In technical terms, GRS apps do not "smooth" the data, they interpolate between sampled data values. In future apps, this distinction will become more apparent as we go from simple bilinear filtering to higher-order filtering.


Here's a page showing some examples of different interpolation techniques in action:

http://photoenlargement.imagener.com/

where "nearest neighbor" is the same as unsmoothed. Note that the biggest bang-for-your-buck comes from bilinear interpolation. Bicubic interpolation adds more fine details but its main purpose is to reduce the bilinear interpolation artifacts. Bilinear artifacts are those prism-like distortions on curved areas which make them jagged. You can see them on the top of the cat's right eye in the middle image. These are due to high frequencies in the spatial data interacting with the bilinear transform.

And a final note about velocity. Velocity displays are difficult because you're trying to display a vector, a linear magnitude with a point-sampled direction, with single dot of color. Typically, velocity color tables do this by displaying the direction as one of two fully saturated hues (red and green) with the magnitude as the lightness of the hue.

GRS attempts to smooth the velocity by point interpolating the direction and linearly interpolating in magnitude. This was only partially successful. Higher order filtering on a standard color may be more successful.

Another approach would be to combine velocity with reflectivity into single 3d display. Velocity would be a height field of positive and negative values with reflectivity as its texture. Of course, background maps and other things would no longer work properly.

end quote
 
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