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Batten Down for Blizzard Nemo with Crowdsourced Weather Apps
© Image: Flickr.com / Joe Shlabotnik
editorial

Batten Down for Blizzard Nemo with Crowdsourced Weather Apps

Need up-to-date information about blizzard Nemo, but can’t bring yourself to trust the weatherman? Check out these crowdsourced weather apps that make it easy to see what the conditions are like outside.

Weddar

Weddar is a self-described “people powered weather service” that asks users to respond to one simple question: “How does it feel?” Individuals can choose one of nine options in response (the spectrum runs from Hell hot to Freezing cold), and add weather conditions like snow, rain, and wind. This information is geo-tagged on a map in the form of clouds, and users can easily see what others in the area are experiencing. Despite the intuitive layout and simple functionality, Weddar has yet to catch on with the public at large – in the New York area, only five reports are currently showing up, including your correspondent’s.

Weathermob

Weathermob is an app that combines weather reports with social aspects like comments and photo sharing. Unlike some other apps on this list, it allows users to easily access the forecast, provided by Weather Underground. Users report the weather, how it makes them feel, and what activities it makes them want to do (sledding in snowy weather, for example). The social aspects have helped to create an active community on the platform, with a relatively high number of reports coming out in the New York area in the last several hours. With the weather likely to get worse and worse throughout the day, expect to see more reports and pictures of snowed-in cars and houses.

Metwit

Metwit takes a somewhat different approach to crowdsourcing the weather than the previous two apps. While users can report the current weather conditions in their area, the majority of reports are culled from Instagram and Twitter. The crowd’s reports are combined with local reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The amount of chatter on Instagram and Twitter makes this a very active app, though there is no easy way to interact with these users since their reports come from other social platforms.

mPING

The NOAA, in collaboration with the University of Oklahoma, released the mPING app just last week, and it already has a chance to help scientists conduct on-the-ground weather research. Probably the simplest app of the ones we looked at, the PING (Precipitation Identification Near the Ground) Project asks users to  simply identify the kind of precipitation falling on the ground. You can see the reports here. There’s little built into the app to drive participation, but the ability to help researchers should be incentive enough for many people.

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  • Metwit HowdyClowdy Metwit HowdyClowdy Feb 10, 2013 02:53 pm GMT

    Hello Anton! Thank you for mentioning us in the article! :)
    You're right about Metwit, we take a more "Proxy-like" approach. That's why we decided to build a public crowdsourced API out of our platform so that every service can embed crowdsourced weather information in their product. You can find more about the API here (it's a developer landing page, a more service oriented page will be out in a couple of days): http://metwit.com/developers/

    But we don't neglect the social aspect! :D
    You can actually interact with the info you see on the maps and in the feeds: for instance you can thank the source of the information by pushing the "thanks button" in any tag detail page.
    If the tag was fetched from Twitter, they will get a mention (on Instagram pics this feedback is not yet available).
    Another cool thing we are working on: power users can edit a Tweet or a photo and assign them a weather status.. in a way it's a crowdsourced semanthic engine for weather information. :)

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