Saturday, January 2, 2016

Predict Wind Offshore App

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch iOS 7 or later
Function: Marine Weather forecasting and routing
Rating: *****
Cost: Basic $19/yr, Standard $199/yr, Pro $499/yr

WEATHER ROUTING & GRIB FORECASTS - If your a boater or sailor you should work at developing some basic skills to observe and predict weather.  If your not paying attention to weather, a day on the water could go from fun to disaster very quickly.

The invention of the smart phone and the Internet have put a wealth of information at our finger tips. And of course there are many apps related to weather. Weather is important if your just out for the afternoon and especially if your crossing oceans.

Boaters and Sailors are not only interested in what the weather is doing now but also what it will be doing in 24, 48 or 72 hours from now. That is where GRIB weather forecast files come in.  

GRIB files are a format used by the meteorological institutes of the world to transport and manipulate weather data and they are the foundation of all weather forecasts. 

In the past collecting all of these forecasts and weather data was a bit tricky for the average person to access. You had to know where to go to get the forecast data. You had to know how to download the GRIB files. Next, you had to find a program to display the GRIB files. Once you were able to display the data you then had to determine what the best course was to take advantage of all this complicated weather data.

Predict Wind has put all of this together in one nice easy package that allows anyone to quickly down load and decipher the forecast data.  Their app takes all the guess work out of planning a departure and can automatically calculate the optimal departure time and path from your point of departure to you destination taking into account wind direction and speed.

Predict Wind's new GRIB viewer can now be used on your PC or MAC computer. They are one of the best apps for weather and wind data and have a powerful weather routing function within the app also. The advanced features can be purchased for a minimum of 3 months or on a yearly basis. The complete pricing is listed here. These purchases allow access to advance features and functions like unlimited locations, auto routing, swell data, rain, clouds, isobars, ocean currents, departure planning, sea temperatures, satellite imagery, Iridium Go interface, tracking, wind graphs charts and tables.

I reviewed the Predict Wind App a while back and was very impressed with the capabilities. See the full review to learn more about it.

The free Predict Wind Offshore App is now available for download in Windows and MAC versions, so you can get all the same features on your PC or MAC computers. The updated iOS app version is suppose to be available soon in the App Store but I have not seen it yet. The latest notice said that the app was accepted by the App Store on December 17th so it should be published soon.

Getting started with the Offshore app is easy. A world map is displayed along with coordinates and menu options on the left. Use your mouse to pan and zoom into the area where you want to acquire a forecast.
Select Your Route:
The first thing that needs to be done is to define your route or location where you need forecasts data. Drag and drop the green start and red top points for your route.  The colored outlined boxes on the chart denote the high resolution GRIB files available along your route. The optional Offshore GRIBs can be selected also.

Download the GRIB Files:
Tapping the Download button at the bottom provides a list of options for getting the GRIB forecast models.

Choose between PWG, PWC, CFS and CMS models or a combination of them.  Once selected the app will automatically download the GRIB files for the forecast route. Other options are resolution, GRIB Offshore, time resolution, time period up to 1-14 days. Ocean and tidal currents can also be viewed.

GRIBs files can be set up to be downloaded from the Internet, Iridium GO satellite receiver or by email via SSB radio. So even while crossing oceans you can get access to updated GRIB weather files, data and satellite images.

The Iridium Go receiver can be set up to create a WiFi hot spot on your boat which can be accessed by a variety of mobile devices. It integrates with the Predict Wind app and allows downloading of up to date GRIB forecasts and weather data. Additional features include email and a satellite tracking feature. Your friends and family can track your position in real time through a web interface.  The cost of the device is about $749.  A monthly data service plan will also have to be purchased to receive the forecast data.

 View the GRIB Files:
The time slider along the bottom of the display allows walking through the route over the forecast time period. This can be set to show anywhere from 1-14 days of forecast data and easily updated as you progress along your route.

Views can be switch between wind, rain, clouds, temperatures, swell and sea temp views over the forecast period.
Trip Planning Options:
The app also includes some powerful tools for trip planning, forecasting, weather routing, departure planning and destination forecasts, GMDSS text forecasts and Satellite imagery. 

Departure planning takes into account the weather forecasts for the next several day and suggest the optimal day to leave on your trip.

Destination forecast provide up to date weather for your eventual destination.

Updated satellite imagery can be downloaded to help track low pressure systems and hurricane paths to keep you and your crew safe.

I am very impressed with the new Offshore GRIB viewer and the integration with the existing Predict Wind app. This app puts the power of up to date forecasts and weather routing in one neat package. The cost is some what expensive but it might be well worth it to get access to all this weather data and the powerful tools of departure planning, weather routing, email and tracking.

The data packages can be purchased for 3 months up to a yearly subscription so there is a plan to fit most budgets. One subscription can be used across all your devices by simply using you account login and password. If your out for just an afternoon cruise or crossing oceans the Predict Wind app will provide all the weather data you will need to keep safe on the water.

What do you think of the app, is this something you are using now or would use on a passage?

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)

1 comment:

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