RainAware Weather: Written iPhone App Review
Ever wanted a personalized weather forecast for your exact location and not just a general geographical region? RainAware Weather app from developer RainAware LLC purportedly offers this feature. It’s also supposedly a few steps ahead of traditional weather predictions, with its advertised “proprietary forecasting system to predict within minutes when rain, snow, sleet, and storms will reach your exact location — up to 3 hours in advance.” Sounds pretty amazing, right?
I’m not going to attempt to explain the technical machinery running behind RainAware, other than that the data is primarily based on radar (using the United States Doppler Radar Network), with some info from environmental and observation input. The big draw of RainAware is that it uses your particular GPS coordinates your device is broadcasting(location services must be turned on), them updates with predictions aimed at the surrounding ½ mile area and up to date within 3 minutes. This is reportedly rather different from traditional weather forecasts, which use a more generalized, linear prediction (“linear extrapolation”) approach and uptodate within 1-2 hours. For more information on the workings behind RainAware, be sure to read this excellent interview the developers did at MinnesotaForecaster, or check out the dev’s website. There is even a great YouTube video put out by the developers showcasing the app’s prediction features. Users get not only precipitation percentage forecasts over the next three hours, but also current weather, and when any ongoing precipitation should stop.
So, does it work? I found RainAware to be fairly accurate and impressive overall. It’s not perfect and you’ll need active GPS reporting to get your area predictions, but the results seemed solid. The descriptions of the science behind the app, along with the bio of the developers (“40 years of combined experience in meteorology and computer programming”) further solidfy RainAware Weather app. The usefulness of such an app cannot be understated-for those of us with active outdoor lifestyle’s (Little League, fishing, soccer, hiking, golf and more), being able to get accurate and focused rain predictions can make the difference between a ruined outing and staying snug at home.
Appearance and Layout:
RainAware has a very functional layout, easy to browse and figure out on the first try, but not so easy on the eyes. It’s clear the developers have spent a lot of time on the programming behind the app and maybe future updates will showcase a more impressive graphical layout.
So, why should the iOS user grab a $4.99 app for the weather? Isn’t a weather feature already built in on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch? True, but I will argue that RainAware is fairly priced, considering its large array of detailed weather prediction features, impressive focal results, and the overall cost associated with maintaining such an app without a subscription service (server farms to host the various calculations involved behind the scenes in RainAware). As noted, RainAware doesn’t exactly sport the most attractive interface, but the functionality aspect of this app compensates for this. If you need the most up-to-date and specific forecasts for your exact location, RainAware may very be the app for you.
RainAware iPhone app requires iOS 4.2 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review. The iPhone app reviews rating: