PinPointWx - About

I am going to date myself here by letting you know I did my first computer program in the 11th grade during my math class (trigonometery I believe). When school began that year my math instructor took his class into the teachers lounge and showed us how we could make computer programs using BASIC on a mainframe located in a building in downtown Detroit. We would type up our program in the teachers lounge (we didn't make punch cards, I think we made paper tape but don't remember exactly because it was so long ago), call the mainframe computer on the phone (dial phone), when the computer answered we would put the handset into a cradle and punch a few buttons to send our program over the phone line and then wait for (hopefully) positive results back on our terminal. I think the line speed might have been a blistering 110 Baud. I was hooked.

My next programming efforts didn't take hold til my first year in college where I took a class on maps and one of the exercises involved using a computer to generate a map made by putting Xs all over the paper. Then in my 4th year of college I took another class where we used some obscure language that I have no recollection of its name anymore. Then came learning Fortran for more computer programs in my 4th year at college and during my first attempt at graduate school.

Giving up graduate school for a job with the NWS let me do more programming on an HP programmable calculator, then on an Apple Macintosh computer in 1985. The language first used on the Macintosh was Pascal. Then my programming returned to Fortran and with the purchase of some Intel 286 based computers I learned C using good old Turbo C. Always intrigued by what computers could do I did a bit of Assembly programming to create an editor on that 286 based computer. Most of the next 15 years were spent using C to produce all sorts of weather related software and PHP for web pages.

My interest in programming for the Apple iPhone and Mac desktop began shortly before I retired from the the National Weather Service. The United States National Weather Service (NWS) produces forecasts using a software package called the Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE). The end result of this forecast process is a database of weather parameters for each 5 kilometer square across the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The NWS calls this database the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD). Information on the NDFD is available at the NWS web site http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ndfd/

The first piece of sofware I created was the PinPointWeather pgrogram for the Mac Desktop. I followed up with PinPointWx for the iPhone. Both of these software packages utilize the 5Km grid of data from the NWS to give a forecast for the specific spot you're interested. Unlike most weather software that grabs the forecast for a nearby airport, The PinPointWeather products get the most accurate forecast for your specific location. Using the GPS capabilities of the iPhone, this means that no matter where you are (as long as you're in a spot covered by the NWS) the forecast you get is taylored for your specific location.

I've been working on some software that displays satellite images and weather forecast model data. Here is a screen shot showing the GFS Model from the National Weather Service (NWS).
WxMap screenshot

Paul