Tired of typical text-based weather summaries?
Instead, explore your local weather in detail!
Sprarkline-inspired graphs provide a comprehensive view of each day’s temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloud cover, and wind.
Something not working? Have an idea how to make it better? Post your thoughts in the
The typical format for weather information is very basic: just the current temperature, a high and low value, and maybe a vague icon or description like "partly cloudy". Likewise, most hourly forecasts just repeat the same information inside a
massive table of values. This makes it hard to understand what the day is going to be like without studying the numbers.
Instead of tables and text, I have always preferred a graphical representation. Not only does this make it easier to see what the whether will be like when I'll be out in it, but you can also easily compare those times with current conditions, or see how one
day compares with the next.
In the past, I've used the National Weather Service's
hourly weather graphs to get this kind of information. This works pretty well, but there are some usability issues:
- There is no history, so you cannot see how today's temperature compares with yesterday's, for example.
- The wide images make it easy to see two day's worth of information on a desktop machine, but the same format is not ideal for a phone.
- Looking ahead always requires another download from the server, and only shows data at fixed intervals.
- On a phone, you are at the mercy of your mobile connection and browser cache when you want to see the weather on the go.
To fix these issues, I created the WeatherSpark app:
- It provides access to all of the data published by NOAA (and now YRNO, for global forecasts), as well as saving the last day's worth of data for comparison.
- The graph focuses on one day's worth of data at a time, and supports interactive panning.
- The app saves the last available forecast locally, making the data available even without a network connection.
This project would not have been possible without a lot of help. Thanks especially to:
- Arturo Toledo — For his long-running series on Windows Phone Metro design principles.
- Scott Hanselman — For the guidance in his blog (particularly the linked Windows Phone post).
- Hiroshi Akima — For his super smooth interpolation.
- Andrea Boschin — For explaining some of the more obscure aspects of Windows Phone.
- WindowsPhoneGeek — For their many tutorials covering all the Windows Phone controls.
- Nirmit Kavaiya — For his well-rounded button styles.