We’re pleased to announce the launch of a new app, designed to do for weather what OpenSignal already does for cell phone coverage. WeatherSignal is a new way of approaching weather data collection using native Android phone sensors. The ubiquity of the modern smartphone means that for the first time it is possible to collect weather data at a level and frequency unavailable to current weather station networks. We hope that by collecting and displaying this data we will be able to improve the granularity of weather readings – leading to more accurate localised forecasts in the future.
The WeatherSignal app is designed to help the user get the most out of the new sensors that are included in their phone, by displaying all their readings in one easily accessible place. The app then shares this data with us, allowing us to create a live map of weather, temperature and pressure readings – telling you what the weather is like at that moment, anywhere in the world where we have users.
We’re really excited to build a community of users who can help us make weather prediction more accurate in the long run. We hope that being able to use your phone to collect live sensor readings will be both useful and interesting for our users. Users of the Galaxy S4 (the most complete phone in terms of sensors ever produced) will be able to take readings of temperature, pressure, humidity, light intensity and magnetic flux, and compare their readings over time. Other Android users will be able to get a lot of those as well, depending on how old their smartphone is. Most importantly of all, you’ll never be left wondering ‘is it sunny in the park?’ again.
One of the most exciting things that we have discovered is that we can collect temperature from phones that don’t have an external thermometer. We can’t release the full details of how we do this because we’re still awaiting scientific journal publication but the rough idea is that we’ve come up with an algorithm which can translate battery temperature into ambient temperature. For each user obviously this will be a bit approximate but when spread over a crowd it correlates extremely well and means that even phones without any of the new sensors will be able to contribute to the data collection, as well as being able to see the weather map in-app. We will also be using environment fingerprinting techniques to work our whether a user is indoors or outdoors, which will reduce the chance of false sensor readings affecting the weather map.
WeatherSignal is a revolutionary new way of collecting and displaying weather data. By becoming a part of our community you’ll be able to get the most out of your phone’s new features and be a part of helping to improve the way we understand weather and how it is affected by local factors. You can download the app here.