A lot of people don’t care about detailed reports and long-term forecasts when they’re curious about the weather. Sometimes, all someone wants to do is take a look at the radar, see what’s in their area, and know what’s coming their way. There are numerous perks of using the visual aid of a radar over written forecasts, and now mobile users are in for a treat with the detailed options available in WeatherSphere’s NOAA Hi-Def Radar.
When NOAA Hi-Def Radar is first opened, users are given a look of the U.S. From there, they can zoom in and out of any location they choose, though service cuts off outside North America. By default, the map shows off current rain and snow, along with severe storm and flood warnings. The radar displays the past hour of weather, allowing users to get a good idea on how storm fronts are moving. Users can pause the radar if they’d like, and they can view a static image of activity of any point in the past hour.
Users who want to monitor multiple cities or locations can easily set bookmarked locations by typing in an address or finding the location on the map. The may also comes with three different views: Road, Satellite, and Hybrid. The road map is what looks best for weather purposes, but the satellite and hybrid maps will be useful for users who want a more realistic look at a specific area. None of these views change the actual function of the radar, however. Those looking to add or remove features will have a ton of options available.
There are a ton of customization options available in NOAA Hi-Def Radar, and it would take far too long to list them all. One of the most in-depth menus is the layers list. There are only a few layers turned on by default, such as the NOAA Base Radar and NOAA Warning Boxes. Users who desire more information can show features like cloud cover, recent lightning strikes, hurricane forecasts, and a drought map for the U.S. The expansive layers menu can also adjust the interval of the radar, allowing for a more precise or a broader look at recent weather patterns. Finally, users are also given the option to save and share screenshots of areas they want to show off to others on social media and email.
Users who want to communicate with other weather watchers are given options as well. Users can take pictures of their local weather and submit it to WeatherSphere. Other users can enter the “Weather Pictures” area of the app to check out and comment on uploaded photos. Users looking for weather images close to home can sort pictures by state, but that’s the only option for sorting, which may be of some frustration to some users. Those more interested in discussion over images are given access to two forums: Tornadoes and Weather Discussions. The Tornadoes forum serves as an outlet for users to share their tornado stories. Weather Discussions features a variety of topics, including a specific sub-forum for sharing images of hail. Some of the discussions are rather empty right now, and only time will tell if more users start to utilize them.
Overall, NOAA Hi-Def Radar is a wonderful app for users who want to take a quick look at their local weather. The app doesn’t feature detailed forecasts or reports, like other weather apps do, but the amount of detail and customization found in the radar may be more than enough for many users. The ability to share images and stories adds a neat social aspect to the service, and the standard $1.99 is an excellent value for the amount of detail.
You can follow NOAA Hi-Def Radar’s progress on AppData, our tracking tool for mobile and social games and developers.