Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who Needs a Weatherman? People-Powered Meteorology !!

Weather conditions are most often defined in terms of temperature, humidity and wind factor. New iPhone application Weddar [iTunes link] challenges this notion with a system that gives users the ability to submit reports based on how the weather feels.
“We wanted a very simplistic approach for all people,” explains co-creator Ricardo Fonseca, “so that they could express their feelings about how they feel the weather.”
Simplistic it is. Weddar presents the user with nine different weather report selections that take the form of color-coded clouds — think Perfect, Hot, Good or Hell — and four optional modifiers so users can specify whether it’s cloudy, rainy, windy or snowy.
Reports are added to the map according to the user’s location, and then visible to other app users in the map view. That’s pretty much all there is to it, though users can also request weather reports by pressing on a place on the map for a second. That action will produce a white cloud on the map and will signal other users to add their reports.

Weddar’s greatest quality is that it’s hyper-local. Because weather reports are tied to a user’s location, they reflect the current feel of an exact locale and offer users more data — as fuzzy as it may be — on the area’s conditions. This means that Weddar can account for microclimates far better than the local TV weatherman.
Of course, that depends on whether anyone is actually using Weddar. The application, released Monday, is seeing some traction, according to Fonseca. He won’t share specific numbers, but he does say that users in 63 different countries have submitted weather reports via Weddar. The app has reached the number two position on the Free Apps chart in Portugal, where Weddar parent-company 96HP is based.
The startup won’t be putting any weathermen (or weathergirls) out of business anytime soon. Sometimes we need a real temperature reading and a bit more to go on than, say, “Fresh”. But the app’s crowdsourced and mobile nature could give it an edge if the idea takes off with enough iPhone users.
Weddar is currently self-funded. The startup plans to introduce new features such as photo uploads in the months ahead.

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