Cell weather radar, dirt cheap or DIY


How about that! The Memory Map Nexrad function for Smart Phones that I tried and raved about now does animation, at right, plus it’s been debundled from the charting software. $10 and it’s yours, no subscription needed, and data use is efficient and user managable. (By the way, developer Richard Stephens may be seriously field testing this product over the weekend, as he again sails the Mackinac aboard Flight Simulator. He says the course is a thunderstorm alley. Good luck, Richard!) 

Meanwhile, Panbo reader Bob Mueller wrote in to say that he’s figured out how to get simple Nexrad images onto his not-so-Smart Motorola v710: I host my own website on the residential DSL line in my home, and I created DYI cell radara page with a custom PHP script that I wrote. The PHP script goes to the ADDS (Aviation Digital Data Service) website, pulls a NEXRAD radar image for the area where I boat.  The image displays a very large area, that would not be easy to interpret on my cell phone screen.  My script then crops the image to the exact resolution of the phone screen.  The script saves this cropped image to the hard drive on the web server for display on my cell phone’s screen via the phone’s web browser.  (I would be more than happy to share the code, it is only a few lines!)  {Send me a note if you want that code — Ben}.

PS Thanks to Gizmodo for picking up on my Sirius & XM weather testing (even if they somewhat misinterpreted my ramblings); we’re getting major hits, which I find very auspicious as today I officially became sole proprieter of www.Panbo.com. Wishing all a great weekend.

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

4 Responses

  1. Looutout Sailors says:

    Ben – I have the Motorola V815 which is a cousin of the V710. I would love to get a copy of the code.
    Thanks – Mike

  2. Chris says:

    I recommend you take a look at Weather Underground. It costs $10 a year to remove the ads. In the upper right is a Mobile/PDA link. It will deliver animated nexrad, storm track and velocity (+hail and tornadic wind symbology), weather warnings, tropical information, tides — all to any browser equipped device. I use it on a blackberry (animated nexrad is my home page) but have friends who report good results with phones with smaller screens. It is a pull service based on zip code or city state name. It works with GPRS and EDGE compression.
    The site it self has considerable analytic content to include a broad array of maps. We find the moisture models particularly helpful. With a laptop and an EVDO card we find this much more useful than XM though it does have range limitiations.
    I have zero affiliation with these folks. I send them $10 a year, that’s it.

  3. Looutout Sailors says:

    I’d forgotten about the PDA feature of Wunderground. It is a great alternative. Thanks.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Mike, If you send me an email (see contact at right), I can pass Bob’s code to you. Apparently it’s good stuff, earning this comment from Panbo reader Barry: “Bob, Einstein said ‘Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler’; your code would make him proud. :-)”

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