Helping Business Weather the Storm

Android Developer Challenge Award Goes to HandWxTM Location-Based Mobile Weather Application

by Daphne Thompson, on May 12, 2008 2:31:15 PM

adc2logoPinpoint Forecasts and High Resolution Radar Promise "Follow Me" Weather for Millions of Mobile Users. Unlike Internet-based weather applications, HandWxTM knows where you are, even when you don't.

Norman, OK (PRWEB) May 12, 2008 -- Pinpoint forecasts and location-based severe weather feeds will soon be accessed directly from your mobile phone due to the work of two innovative Android Developer Challenge partners, Weather Decision Technologies, Inc. (WDT) and Weathertop Consulting, LLC. The two companies have come out with the HandWxTM "follow-me" mobile weather application, which was recognized today with a prestigious $25,000 award, as one the top 50 most promising first round Challenge entrants among more than 1,700 entries worldwide.

The award-winning mobile weather program was developed using WDT's advanced real-time Doppler Radar data, overlaid onto Google Maps. This allows users to view precise weather radar and forecasts with easy search and "zoom in/out" functions, using gestures familiar to all Google Maps aficionados. HandWx allows weather trackers to view weather information within storm patterns, right down to the street and house level. The application provides unique, location-based weather feeds and forecasts sent directly to Android-based handsets, based on precise location coordinates.

"Unlike Internet-based weather applications, HandWx knows where you are, even when you don't," said Roland Schweitzer of Weathertop Consulting. "Imagine you're on a trip driving across the country and you want to know if it's going to be warm enough to camp outdoors in your lightweight sleeping bag," said Schweitzer. "You don't know a zip code and there's no discernible town nearby to get a quick bearing on a forecast. Flip on your Android phone and load up HandWx and you'll soon have a forecast for up to seven days for your current location. You can track radar and storm data, wherever you are, and if the forecast calls for a cold or stormy night, that old motel you just passed won't look so bad."

Users can get a forecast for any location in the United States by typing in a zip code, latitude/longitude coordinates, a city and state, or the address of a local milestone. The Android geo-coding automatically locates the latitude and longitude for the information you entered, allowing HandWx to deliver the latest forecast for that location. Alternatively, triangulation with cellular tower signals helps locate your precise location which can be used for getting a forecast or accessing tiled weather radar data whenever you are in "follow-me" mode.

State-of-the-Science Radar and Forecasts

WDT produces radar imagery with the highest spatial resolution available, at 1 kilometer. It also provides the highest temporal resolution, with updates every 2 minutes. WDT serves up the national United States radar mosaic in real-time and on-demand, using a proprietary "weather tile server". WDT accesses the low-latency streaming data feeds of all 136 Level II NEXRAD National Weather Service radars to produce these radar images. "WDT uses cutting edge quality control and merging techniques to create an extremely accurate and timely picture of the current radar, and delivers it as Google Maps-compatible tiles," said Michael Eilts, President and CEO of WDT. "We update the tiles every 5 minutes, for the entire country, and with street level zoom and transparency capabilities, it's easy to get a view of information that is usually totally obscured by radar echo. With the transparency function, you can view precise locations within the storm's path, and then predict with certainty whether you need to take action," said Eilts.

HandWx serves up these precise and uncluttered radar images for countrywide/regional/state or citywide areas. All data forecasts are provided by the United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Weather Service via the National Digital Forecast Database, which is updated hourly.

Rapid animation and "follow me" updates

The HandWx high quality radar tiles are sophisticated overlays to the Android map interface, which allow you to animate storm paths and view the radar by roaming and zooming at will over the entire United States. Weather trackers can ask the application to follow their current location and update the radar tiles every 5 minutes as they move. Future HandWx applications will include nearby lightning strikes, hurricane forecast tracks, and National Weather Service watches and warnings for your current location or any location that mobile users choose.

Submissions to the Android Developer Challenge I took place from January 2 through April 14, 2008. The 50 applications selected for the first award will then be eligible for even greater recognition, via ten $275,000 awards and ten $100,000 awards, for a total of $10 million in awards.

About the Open Handset Alliance

The Open Handset Alliance is a group of more than 30 technology and mobile companies who have come together to accelerate innovation in mobile and offer consumers a richer, less expensive, and better mobile experience. Together we have developed AndroidTM, the first complete, open, and free mobile platform. For more information:

About Weathertop Consulting, LLC

Weathertop Consulting is a computer services and software development consulting company located in College Station, Texas. We are experts in software development for Web-based display and analysis of earth science data. The company specializes in all aspects of scientific data management, including standards-based data storage and OPeNDAP servers. For more information:

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