Friday, August 3, 2012

Intellicast Boating HD

Application: iPad, iPhone iOS 4.0 or later
Function:  Marine weather and charts
Rating: ****
Cost: $6.99

What are the two things all boaters need when heading out for a day cruise or a weekend on the water. Charts and weather of course. We all know weather is a key factor in keeping the fun in our on the water activities. Keeping an eye on approaching storms can keep you and your crew safe.

Intellicast, a Weather Channel company is known as one of the nations top weather services. They have developed a great app for on the water enthusiasts.  The extensive customizable weather data displays and the added bonus of NOAA RNC charts makes this app one you will want to consider while on the water.

The app provides a wealth of weather data and overlays so you can select the type of real time weather or forecast data you want. Tides can be checked by selecting from the listed tidal stations on the chart. Hurricane tracking and severe weather alerts are provided too.  The high resolution satellite and radar will keep you out of harms way from severe weather. See the additional features below.


Features:
  • NOAA Raster charts
  • Marine forecasts
  • Buoy and C-Man reports
  • Marine and severe weather watch/warnings
  • Severe storm and tropical cyclone tracking
  • Tides stations
  • CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii, Canadian, Caribbean, and Mexican radar data
  • Forecast radar for the CONUS
  • High resolution satellite imagery to highlight clouds and fog
  • Wave heights
  • Sea and land temperatures
  • Wind speeds
The first thing you need to do is set up your weather viewing locations.  On the top left of the screen you will see an icon next to a cities name. Select this and a drop down window will allow you to add a home location and other cities that you want to view.

Simply tap the drop down and select the city where you want to view weather data.


Up to date Marine reports are listed on the bottom of the screen with the latest data.
The app has a lot a versatility in allowing you to set up only what you want to see. The different viewable layers are selected with the Map Layer selection on the bottom right of the screen.

You can select up to 6 layers or overlays to view at one time.  There are 17 separate layers to choose from. There are five overlays including Marine observations, NWS Coastal forecasts, Tides, Storm Tracks, Tropical tracks.  The layers and overlays that you select will show up as icons on the bottom center of the screen. You can then turn these off and on for viewing by tapping them. This gives you the versatility to change what your want to view on the fly.






Marine forecasts can be viewed for the area you located in.  The app knows where you are located using the internal GPS.

Marine forecast data includes temperature, dew point, humidity, water temperature, wind, gusts, wave heights, pressure and latitude/longitude.





Hurricane warnings are very important to those of you in the gulf and up the eastern seaboard.  The screen shot to the right shows the latest tropical storm Ernesto and it's forecast track through the Caribbean.

The Blog feature in the upper right hand corner of the screen gives you an up to date narrative description of the tropical activity in the gulf.

The app is a great resource for weather data, providing the user with the flexibility to view a variety of data in real time or forecast modes.  The NOAA charts do not provide any navigation features except for reference to the weather data. 

The main problem with the app is that all the data requires that you have an Internet or cellular connection. Coastal cruisers will find this app very useful but long distance cruisers will need a weather app that can download and use GRIB files.  Weather 4D Pro would be a great choice for offshore use.

The app is great at weather but is very weak on marine navigation.  So, you are still going to need to purchase a separate navigation app.  I am not sure it is worth the $6.99 for just a few added NOAA charts.  I think I will save my $7 and just use the free Intellicast HD weather app. 

Sail On
Mark

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