FAQ - iPhone

Questions:

  1. Why do the iPhone app maps look completely different from the Dashboard widget?
  2. Why does the map show colors when it is perfectly clear outside?
  3. Why does the map not look as good when zoomed in?
  4. Why is Radar In Motion only available in the US Store?
  5. Why does Radar In Motion crash when it starts up?
  6. What are all the different types of radars?
  7. What are the three little letters before the time at the bottom of the app?
  8. I can’t read the text in the legend. What does it all mean?


Why do the iPhone app maps look completely different from the Dashboard widget?

The Dashboard widget uses Weather.com as its primary weather source whereas the iPhone application uses the National Weather Service. The reason is both legal and technical. First of all, it has been brought to my attention that if I were to use the Weather.com maps for the iPhone app, I’d likely be facing legal action from them. Why they can be used for the Dashboard widget and not the iPhone app, I’m not completely sure. Since your tax dollars pay for the National Weather Service, the maps from their can be used without worry. From the technical perspective, the National Weather Service has a supported way to access their maps, meaning it is less likely the application will suddenly stop working. People who have used the Dashboard widget know that their have been times it has stopped working because the location of Weather.com maps changed. This is not a concern with the National Weather Service maps.


Why does the map show colors when it is perfectly clear outside?

The maps from the National Weather Service provide raw data, including some random ground noise here and there, which is what you see sometimes even thought it is clear outside. If the dots on the screen don’t seem to be moving in any particular direction, it is just noise and can be ignored. When there is weather in the area, it tends to be very clear, moving, and shows up as brighter colors. Basically, if you don’t see anything green, yellow, or red moving in a particular direction, you don’t need your umbrella!


Why does the map not look as good when zoomed in?

Zooming isn’t something naturally supported by the National Weather Service maps. The zooming feature in the application enlarges the image to try to give you a little better look at a smaller area. As one zoom the image, the quality degrades similar to if you try to increase the resolution of a picture on your computer. Unless another source is used at some point in the future, the zooming will have to be limited to this functionality.


Why is Radar In Motion only available in the US Store?

Since the National Weather Service is the source used, only maps in the US are available, which is stated on the page for the app. However, in order to avoid confusion, I only make the application available in the US store.


Why does Radar In Motion crash when it starts up?

The crashes should be mostly fixed in Version 1.3 of Radar In Motion, which should be out the week of January 19th. However, it turns out that displaying an animated map of the size found on the National Weather Service’s site can be a little memory-intensive. If the app does crash, your best bet is to restart the phone and then run Radar In Motion. It should run perfectly fine after a restart. If after a restart you continue to see problems, please contact me.


What are all the different types of radars?

For a description of the radars, see The National Weather Service’s FAQ.


What are the three little letters before the time at the bottom of the app?

The three-letter code is the ID for the radar station that was loaded. You can type this code directly into the search box to get the map for that location.


I can’t read the text in the legend. What does it all mean?

The goal of the showing the legend is not to be able to read the text. The goal is to show the relative intensities represented by the colors. In that respect, colors more toward the top indicate more, whether it be more intense storms or more precipitation. The text at the bottom lists severe warnings, although the application does not currently show warnings. It may at some point in the future. The top text shows the same information presented at the bottom of the application: time stamp and radar location.