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WunderStation iPad app: Nirvana for weather geeks

Wunderstation App

Weather Underground runs what it calls the PWS (Personal Weather Station) network, a mesh of over 37,000 individually-owned weather stations that send live weather info to the company as often as every 2.5 seconds. If you live near a PWS, you can be guaranteed that you're going to get forecasts from Weather Underground that better represent the actual microclimates in your area thanks to the company's analysis of the PWS data. Well, now there's a way for weather geeks to really dig into that data visually. The free WunderStation iPad app offers an variety of ways to slice and dice local weather information.

I've been using the app for about a week, viewing information from my PWS and others around the world. But rather than just being able to look at the current weather and a forecast, the WunderStation app lets me take a look at historical weather from the station as well.

The app displays a number of content widgets that each focus on one aspect of the weather. For example, the image at the top of this post shows the current temperature, today's temperature, map, daily forecast, rainfall, wind, current barometric pressure, today's pressure, and sky conditions widgets. Those widgets can be moved around or removed, and other widgets are available for looking at solar radiation and UV index for stations that have those extra sensors.

I wondered if WunderStation was going to support the huge weather webcam network that Weather Underground also hosts, and today I was told by the company to expect a webcam widget in the 1.1 release of the app.

iPad owners can add a group of PWS network stations to the app and enjoy looking a current and daily conditions. But the real power of the app comes into play when you tap on one of the widgets. That particular widget grows into a pane that takes up the space of four widgets, giving you a more detailed look at that specific weather factor. Often, you can look at the data in an infographic view as well as a graph view. The line charts in the graph view show buttons to display data for the day, week, month, or year. A "layer" button is available for adding other data to a chart.

To look at different stations that you've added to your personal list, you just swipe left and right. For stations that are on "rapid-fire" updates and sending data continuously, you'll see the wind direction, temperature, and wind direction/speed change in real time.

Not every one will want or need all of this weather data, but if you either run a PWS or just have an overreaching interest in weather, WunderStation is the app for you.

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