Storm Chasing Fever - Blog - iMap Weather Radio App iPhone Review
iMap Weather Radio App iPhone Review
May 20, 2011
*Update* This review has been updated for the new iMap Weather Radio Version 2.0 that has been released on March 1, 2012.
For storm chasers, skywarn spotters and iPhone users, the iMap Weather Radio app seemed to have the potential to be as good as a NOAA Weather Radio. The newly 2.0 version does just that as it has a better graphical interface and functionality.
The iMap Weather Radio is a computerized voice that speaks to you and displays warnings via text issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). I tested some cities from Oklahoma that experienced severe thunderstorms on March 18, 2012. By the time the NWS issued a warning for Velma, Oklahoma, the alert notification seemed faster than the previous version, only taking about 1 - 2 minutes to pop up on my iPhone lock screen after the warning had been issued.
- If your phone is on standby mode and an alert is issued for your programmed area, the iMap Weather Radio will beep and begin streaming the alert audio without having the user to open up the app. This is exactly how a NOAA Weather Radio works.
Once you receive an alert notification, you proceed to your current location or specific location you programmed. You can choose which alert to listen to, and it takes you to a new window that displays the warning text for you to read and displays the radar at the top half of the screen of the storm or weather event that prompted the alert.
The iMap feature offers radar and satellite imagery with animation. Google roads, hybrid and satellite maps are incorporated from your iPhone into the app so you can pinpoint your current location and view traffic. In addition, you can pick which severe weather alert graphic overlay to display on the map (severe thunderstorm watch, warnings, tornado watch, warnings, hurricane forecast track and cone, wind, snow, you name it). You will have the ability to adjust the radar and satellite opacity that helps blend in while viewing Google maps. In my opinion the radar resolution is somewhat vague, but you can get an idea of where severe weather is located in and around your area.
The iMap app automatically pinpoints your location. This is nice since if you are traveling it will be able to update you of any impending weather is approaching you while on the go. You can set up to 5 pre-designated locations far from your current position. For example, if you're in Wichita, Kansas and you have family down in Oklahoma City and would like to monitor a bad storm there, you can add Oklahoma City to your list. You will then be able to receive notifications on your iPhone from Oklahoma City.
Alerts & Background Tracking
You are able to enable and disable weather alerts such as, Severe, Flood, Winter, Tropical, Wind, Fire, Marine and others. This probably can be helpful if you are just worried about one particular severe weather alert. For example, there is no need to enable the Marine alert if you aren't boating on water. Location tracking simply sends out a signal to ask for your location. If you want to have your phone tracked to the most accurate pin-point location, this will drain the iPhone battery. To save battery power, you can adjust it to "less accurate", but your actual location might be off a tad on the map.
Overall, the iMap Weather Radio app is a solid purchase which is currently $9.99 at the app store. The price may be a little high, but the new 2.0 version is a better upgrade than its original. The app's main feature is sending the user push notifications of impending hazardous conditions without having to constantly monitor updates on your iPhone. That is a nice thing to have when you're on the go away from your NOAA Weather Radio at home. Weather Decision Technologies had plans on releasing an iMap Weather Radio app for the Android, but hasn't done so at the current time.