I have to give the weather channel folks a lot of credit for their android application. One of the quite nifty features is an alert model built into it that will actually translate national weather service alerts into phone alerts. Today I got 2 of those. One for the Tornado warning in the county, and the other for a very specific thunder cell moving over my location. This is the second time that I’ve gotten an alert on an extremely strong thunder cell, and both times it came with a roughly 20 minute warning window.
Having my phone alert me when doom is coming is a quite good thing. It also makes me wonder if in the future we’ll have some new cellular version of the Emergency Broadcast System. Given how few people are typically watching broadcast TV or Radio, something like this model would be quite slick.
3 thoughts on “Weather Channel on Android”
They did this with GSM, sort of. You could join what effectively were SMS mailing lists. In the mid-90s Omnipoint ran dozens of services including movie times, lottery results, sporting results, market alerts, and regional weather warnings and forecasts, some of which cost money, most were free. Just text the zip codes, NBA team names, ticker symbols, etc to number XYZ…
EBS-like systems were tied in, too, but only opt-in. Local authorities could get their own distribution lists, but it was extremely rare.
This was all about the cellcos trying to find a use for SMS, which at this point didn’t cost money to receive, even for pay-as-you-go customers like myself.
In late 1998, the SMS gateway stopped accepting commands, but there was still one department at Omnipoint who I could call up and make requests of. Then in 1999, Omnipoint became Voicestream, and a few weeks later, my forecasts and alerts stopped arriving. Noone I called ever knew the service was offered.
We’ve come a long way from the 9-character caps-only LCD display weather alerts from a static list of your zip codes. But its exciting to see that after more than a decade, the first applications that tied the outside world to a persons mobile existence are still relevant, sought after, and improving. Except sports results. I think they’re just getting more expensive.
im a big fan of METAR and TAFS reports, which is what pilots use. its kind of … well, raw. but it has an amazing amount of info if you know how to read it.
@porkchop that SMS bit sounds neat. Apparently there is work going on to do this across all the cell networks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_Mobile_Alert_System. I’m curious what the user visible interface is going to be on that.