Saturday, March 23, 2013

Quick look: SkyMotion brings you up-to-the-minute forecasts in a beautiful, simple way

Quick look: SkyMotion brings you up-to-the-minute forecasts in a beautiful, simple way

I’ve always been a big fan of single-task apps. Apps that do one thing, but do it really well. Or in an innovative or beautiful way. SkyMotion is a good example of this. It’s a weather app, but it doesn’t give you a five day forecast, and there’s no radar, humidity readings, dew-point information or wind speeds. SkyMotion simply tells you if it’s going to rain, or snow, in the next two hours, with incredible accuracy, in a gorgeous way.

There’s isn’t a whole lot to say about what SkyMotion does; it’s how it does it that’s impressive. According to the in-app about section, SkyMotion uses a “proprietary 2-hour precipitation forecasting technology developed by Sky Motion Research called nowcasting.” SkyMotion uses over 200 weather radars in the United States and Canada and some unique “algorithms derived from the computer graphics industry” to produce minute-by-minute precipitation forecasts in high resolution 1 km x 1 km grids. SkyMotion then refreshes this information in either 5, 10 or 15 minute intervals, since weather is known to change to frequently. In other words: highly accurate, hyper-localized weather prediction.


Functionality wise, that’s all SkyMotion does. There’s no radar map or anything else cluttering the app. Just a clean blue box with a subtle graphic, the current temperature and some text saying whether or not it’s going to snow in the next two hours. You can add more locations to swipe through, read the precipitation summary for the next two hours in five minute intervals and change whether the temperature is displayed in Celsius or Fahrenheit. But that’s it.

The accuracy of SkyMotion has yet to fail me, but reviews on Google Play are mixed. While some complain that SkyMotion is off the mark, others say it’s wonderfully accurate. Five-star reviews far outweigh one-star reviews, so I wouldn’t judge SkyMotion’s accuracy before you try it for yourself.

All in all, I highly recommend downloading SkyMotion and checking it out. Combined with Google Now, I don’t need any other weather apps on my phone (although I do keep Radar Now installed just in case I want to geek out on some NWS radar action). If nothing else, it’s free, so there really isn’t anything to lose.

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//PART 2