Thursday, April 28, 2016

Integration with AerisWeather

We're delighted to announce integration with AerisWeather and the WhirlyGlobe-Maply mobile toolkit.

Florida: A reliable source of interesting weather

AerisWeather makes a variety of weather related products, like radar and satellite overlays.  We've done some simple integration to make those easier to use.

A Little Background

If you're coming from the AerisWeather site, you probably don't know who we (mousebird consulting inc) are.  We do high performance mobile data display.
Globe & Map

We make the WhirlyGlobe-Maply open source geospatial toolkit for iOS and Android.  It's a mobile first SDK used in a variety of weather, aerospace, map, and education apps.  It's easy to integrate, free to use, and imposes no extra costs on your app.

What We Did with AerisWeather

Our toolkit already supported a wide variety of weather and aviation apps so there was nothing difficult to add.  We just made it easier to fetch AerisWeather data layers.

There are a few new MaplyAeris objects in the toolkit.  These take your AerisWeather key, interrogate the available layers and set up the necessary WG-Maply objects.

There's a nice tutorial for iOS, so go check that out.  Ideally, use your own AerisWeather key.  Ours is just the boring demo account.

What's Next?

Our technology is used in some really ambitious weather apps.  We'd love to move a few of those techniques over to a broader base.

AerisWeater Weather Satellite Layer

AerisWeather layers are nice, but they're pure visual, like you'd use in a web browser.  Mobile devices are smarter and we know how to feed them better data.

So here's the deal.  If you're an AerisWeather user on mobile we've made it easier to use those layers in our toolkit.  That's great, but if you'd like to make it faster, smaller, and prettier, let's see what we can do together.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

International Space Apps Challenge

This weekend I'm participating in the International Space Apps Challenge.  I'm going to build an app I've been thinking about for years, but has no commercial viability whatsoever.

That's right, it's a NASA earth data set browser.  Obviously, just a subset of earth data.  Like, the stuff that's easy to access.

Global Imagery Browser Service

NASA provides a really nice back end for accessing some of their (near) real-time data sets for the earth.  You can get a fair bit of historical data too.  And they provide a really nice web interface.  Check out NASA WorldView.

There are only two problems with this otherwise awesome web app.  First, it's a web app so mediocre on mobile devices.  Second, it's not a globe.  Because globe.

Worldview for Mobile

And that's the goal for this weekend's hackathon:  A Worldview clone for iOS devices on a globe.  We won't call it that, obviously, but I do plan to borrow its configuration files.  Because open source.  And lazy.

Now you might say "The globe and the images and... that looks hard!"  Actually, no.  I make a toolkit that does all of that.  This is going to be an exercise in user interface and add ons.  I'll deal with the user interface and...

Other People

If anyone wants to join my team, you are welcome.  It's going to be an exercise in software engineering, I'm afraid.  I can't think of much that isn't software development here, but I'm open to ideas.

I'm going to concentrate on the main user interface for iPad and iPhone.  I can think of a few other features that might be very cool and (best of all) largely separate.

  • Star field:  The toolkit has one, but I've never verified that it makes any sense.  You could make it look better, update it based on the time and verify that it's correct.
  • Planets: We're using the AA+ toolkit for sun and moon positions.  You could add the planets.
  • Sun & Moon: The existing sun and moon are there, but they could look better.  Phase of the moon would be cool.
  • Satellites: All of the satellites that contribute data have predictable positions.  It'd be cool to see their locations at any given time and perhaps their tracks.
  • Other data sets: Got other earth data sets you'd like to see?  Might be easy enough to add.
Anything you can think of is fair game too, of course.

The app itself will be released open source and, if we get something good, published to the app store after a little testing.