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First look: free WunderMap weather app for iPad

I've always been a bit of a sucker for the Weather Underground "Who Is Hot?" and Wunder Radio iPhone apps, as well as their website, so I was anxiously awaiting word of when they'd announce something for the iPad. I didn't have to wait long, as the company has announced that their free WunderMap has been approved by Apple and will be available soon. According to a company spokesman, they also submitted a version of WunderRadio for iPad that was rejected by Apple -- it ran on the iPad simulator, but not on the actual device. They've resubmitted, and we can only hope that that great radio app receives approval before Saturday.

What is WunderMap? It's an amazing interactive weather map that uses Weather Underground's 16,000+ weather stations as well as radar and satellite layers to bring you weather information in a totally new way. You can start by looking at current conditions at any of the Weather Underground sites, with information including temperature, dew point, humidity, precipitation, wind speed, wind direction, and barometric pressure. Or course, most people want to know what the weather is going to be like in the future, so WunderMap provides 4-day forecasts for the center location in the current view of the map.
For the US, animated radar maps can be overlayed onto either a satellite view, a street map view, or a hybrid map. You can also overlay animated satellite cloud maps on your map. What I think is the most compelling feature of WunderMap is the ability to view live web cams at many sites. They show up on the map as icons, and a simple tap brings up a current view of conditions.

The app uses a worldwide location search or GPS functionality to determine the view -- I'm assuming that Wi-Fi iPads will get location information from Skyhook, while the 3G iPads coming later in April will use the built-in GPS receiver to pinpoint the location of the user.

WunderMap is free, and will be available upon App Store approval. There's a gallery of screenshots below, although none of them really show the detail that is available in the online WunderMap. If you're interested, I suggest trying out the online WunderMap at http://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/. Note that the screen shot at the top of this post is taken from the online service to demonstrate the layering capabilities.

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