ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 25, 2020) – Data from the nation’s most advanced and largest early warning weather detection network can now be viewed in the palm of your hand.
In partnership with the University’s xCITE (ExTREME Collaboration, Innovation, & TEchnology) laboratory, the New York State Mesonet has released an official mobile application – available for download in Apple and Google Play stores.
The app offers real-time access to NYS Mesonet data at the network’s 126 standard stations located across the state. Included are weather variables such as current temperature, wind speed, temperature, humidity, snow depth and soil moisture, updated every five minutes. The app is displayed in map-form, with real-time camera images available at each location.
NYS Mesonet Program Manager Jerry Brotzge called the app a “real breakthrough” for its users.
"Our NYS Mesonet app will find immediate use by city and county emergency managers responding to emergencies in the field, plow drivers working a snowstorm, utility crews repairing downed power lines, farmers working in their fields, and insurance adjusters evaluating claims,” he said. “This empowers data-driven applications in a variety of sectors, facilitating a stronger economy and a safer world."
Partnership with xCITE
The xCITE lab is responsible for the design, integration and development of the app. Its leaders — Kara Sulia and Arnoldas Kurbanovas '17, '18 — worked closely with the NYS Mesonet to ensure the app aligns with the network’s mission and goals.
Located within the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC), the xCITE lab helps atmospheric scientists better visualize and communicate their research through the use of emerging technologies, such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
“The NYSM app is a prime example of what services we have to offer here in the xCITE lab, not only in the development of software, but also in doing so with a full understanding of the complex weather data that make the applications we create so powerful,” said Sulia, a meteorology PhD and ASRC researcher who directs the xCITE Lab.
“Our scientific and analytical understanding is what sets our lab apart from other software development entities,” she added.
The capabilities of the NYS Mesonet app are still being developed, according to Sulia and Kurbanovas. They are in the process of adding mobile-friendly features that include location-specific weather alerts/push notification and temporary map-based markers that can be dropped by users to share potentially useful information, such as dangerous weather hazards.
Their goal in creating the app is to make the campus community and general public aware of the NYS Mesonet network, learn more about the data it collects, and use it for daily decision-making.
“We hope this app serves as a gateway into more mobile app development projects for the lab,” said Kurbanovas, who earned two degrees in computer science from UAlbany and is now a lead software engineer at ASRC. “By having this framework, we can now build other weather-related mobile apps containing complex data and visuals in a relatively quick time frame.”