In a November 2011 study, Pew Internet found that over half of the adult cell phone owners downloaded apps on their phone. Of these, over 74% downloaded apps that provide regular updates on news, weather, sports or stocks.
I am a fan of weather apps. I have learned from experience that it is important to check the weather before venturing out from home. During the pre-smartphone days, I checked my local TV and radio stations, but now I check my phone every morning. My go-to weather app is OurCast. It lets you report conditions via the app, which are then integrated directly into Ourcast’s forecasts.
At present, it is an iPhone only app, though I did test it on an iPad. According to OurCast, this app is a “new type of statistical modeling that uses real-time radar data and weather station readings provided by 20,000 volunteers across the U.S.” and enhanced by user-generated weather reports provided in real-time. The advantage of seeing weather reports in 10 minute intervals is great; you can quickly squeeze in a run before the weather turns nasty.
It seems like a cool idea to supplement weather technology with crowd-sourced weather reports. If they play their cards right and partner with local TV and radio stations, we may hear of “OurCast” reports from users along with Doppler radar reports.
The app is easy to use – you can submit your report by checking-in (don’t groan about another check-in tool!) to the app and choose a weather report symbol, like “no rain.” You can also choose to see weather for “Everyone,” “Nearby,” or your report, and you can share your check-in report on Twitter and Facebook. It would be great if they add a photo feature as well. Additionally, I will be happier when they finally release the Android app, which is in the works.