It’s been a 6-month odyssey, but finally Canada Weather 1.0 is ready! The trip consisted of a complete rewrite of what was otherwise a completely disjointed assembly of libraries that worked poorly together and made it difficult to fix problems. Also, trying to maintain backwards compatibility to Android 2.2 made life difficult, so once I got my Android 4.0 phone up and running I started writing…and a semester of school later here we are! New features include improved widget updating, a resizable widget, smarter weather notifications (for when warnings are issued), faster loading, improved look & feel, and from a developer standpoint (not that you really care) – easier to understand! Thanks for all the feedback in the past few days, all the big things wrong should now be fixed. Also, thanks for all the donations! You guys are the best.
Thanks to the magical graphic design of one Lauren Peters-Collaer, Fish & Whistle has a logo! As Fish & Whistle expands to other platforms and into custom technical drawing, it feels good to have a solid image (and a solid song) behind the company’s work. To the future!
From the creator of Canada Weather & Radar and Canada Marine Weather comes an ad-free, feature rich and conveniently free NOAA weather app. Links directly to the NOAA mobile site for more detailed forecasts, warnings, and radar coverage. Includes widget and the ability to save as many locations as you choose to quickly switch between forecasts. Turn on warning notifications to have notifications sent to your phone any time NOAA issues a watch or warning by adding a new widget.
There are, of course, a number of other options for NOAA weather apps. NOAA itself has a wonderful mobile site, in addition to several apps that offer radar and better tablet integration (but no warning notifications even in the paid versions!). Seeing as people pay me to buy my apps sometimes, the fact that I’m too cheap to pay for the NOAA apps that currently exist seems ironic, but the gold standard Weather.com app is also free, so people generally aren’t willing to pay if there isn’t something unique about the app, which for this app (and the other NOAA apps) really doesn’t apply. Enjoy and send me suggestions!
For a few months there have been a number of comments on how to improve Canada Weather, the most important of which was a French translation. With the help of O. Kuzin (a retired professional translator) and my limited french I was able to piece together a workable french translation of the Canada Weather and Marine Weather apps, fixing a few bugs in the process. The widget is now slightly smaller (3×1…which I’ve already had complaints about because it won’t center on a 4×5 screen), it updates more reliably, and you can now get notifications to pop up whenever there’s a warning for any of the cities you have a widget for (and it never bugs you about the same warning more than once!).
Next up: Current temperature in the menu bar, and transparency options for the widget background, and a NOAA (U.S.) version of the app (coming very soon!).
Also…more than 25,000 users! Keep at it, folks.
With the discovery of the Environment Canada Marine XML feed, I decide to tackle the challenge of an additional weather app. It takes quite a bit of moving things around to create a base weather app that can then be extended to make Canada Weather & Radar, Canada Marine, and eventually a NOAA version when I get the time. I’ve had quite a few requests from Canada Weather users to make a foray into the marine end of things, so I’m glad to have finished the project, which also helped in improving my KML library and gave me some practice parsing XML and mining web pages for useful information. Probably the biggest accomplishment is knowing how to structure custom Android libraries…such as one for mapping, location/geometry, dealing with units…to avoid copy/pasting too much code. Next step: porting the weather library to NOAA and the U.S. (which also provides a decent XML format) and translating the Canadian apps into French.
It appears that Google Maps’ latest update removed support for sending names (other than addresses) to Maps, and now only takes a location. This is bad news for anybody that wanted to save locations in Google Maps, and while there may be a workaround in the future, this appears to be the best case scenario for now. With this release the bug should be fixed, and while I was at it I updated a few of the icons to look pretty and fixed a crash with the ‘zoom to me’ feature on the map.
Compared to the 17,000 of you that use Canada Weather, the 33 loyal GopherNotes users have been on the backburner for quite some time. As the pet project that I started writing apps to make, GopherNotes hasn’t exactly caught on, probably because of the lack of attention to things like crashing and user interface. I still haven’t gotten the interface as smooth as I would like it, but it’s certainly better than it was before, and thanks to some experience with Prairie Coordinates and Canada Weather, it’s running a whole lot more smoothly.
Also implemented was a suggestion by a geologist friend to allow collection of audio as well as video and photos so that it’s possible to describe what you’re seeing in case you’re not in a position to write it down or type it with a really terrible phone keyboard. Unfortunately I can’t figure out how to get these to play in a KMZ file in GoogleEarth, but they do play on your phone and export by ZIP if you’d like that to happen.
But what I’m really excited about is the new Maps feature. This lets you add custom KMZ files to your projects that contain Ground Overlays, and while it’s tough to line them up perfectly, it extends the offline capacity for data collection.
This brings me to the part that I’m really really really excited about (but probably just because of how long it took me to write…): the interpolation feature. If you don’t know what interpolation is…think pretty color map telling you where the highs and lows of your data are just minutes after you collect your data. This is viewed within the Google Maps activity, so you can do all the lovely things you’ve always been able to do there, such as view your GPS location, add points, and edit data. On top of all of that, any custom maps you add to the project (including interpolations) can be nicely exported to KMZ format and emailed at a moment’s notice.
There’s certainly a long way to go to make this app the kind of ‘GIS lite’ I’d imagined it to be, but until I get a few more bites it’s hard to justify spending the time to make it happen. Keep sending in the suggestions!
And did I mention the new icon? Now I really only have one app that is just a picture of a gopher.
After a few months of complaints of missing features and bugs, I finally get around to this release, adding a few features (GPS location, menus for later versions of Android) and refined a few things (widget updating, linking to the mobile site for weather warnings, fixed a partly cloudy/mostly cloudy issue). Next on the agenda: Marine weather, current observations, and possible NOAA integration. Check it out!
After a few months of comments on the last release of Canada Weather, I decided fixing the widget layout and adding animated radar were worth it. In addition, this release includes the ability to switch icon sets (environment canada just released a new set) and switch the background to light (because the new icon set looks terrible on a dark background, and a few people have requested this feature for the widget). The only feature request missing from this version is the ability to look up an Environment Canada location using the phone’s current location.
It’s been a year since I started developing apps for Android, and it’s high time the website got underway. Complete with pages for each app and a donate page, it should function for now. In the future, I’d like to add online versions of some of the conversion functions my apps use and expand the description of each to include a bit of a tutorial on how to get the most out of it, but we’ll see if I ever get the time amidst updating all the apps. Happy app-ing and thanks for your support!