As the title states this is a review of the iMap Weather Radio app that I have waited over a year to purchase for my Android phone after it was finally release one week ago today.
Here's a little background on the app...it was created by Weather Decision Technologies (same company responsible for RadarScope after their acquisition of Base Velocity); this app is pretty much like having a NOAA Weather Radio on your smartphone. The following are some of the features available on this app:
It has a computerized voice that alerts you of threatening weather conditions in your current location or in 5 separate areas you can program into the app. Even if your phone is in sleep mode it will activate if an alert is issued for the area or areas you programmed into the app (Note: you have to have your notification sound turned on in order to receive the audio alert).
This is how I have my app is setup; my Current Location is Murfreesboro (although that will change while traveling)...I also have three areas surrounding Murfreesboro programmed in (Franklin to the west; Columbia and Lewisburg to the southwest). I also have two cities programmed to where I can monitor the weather for my friends and family and if say a tornado warning gets issued even if I'm away from my computer I will be alerted to the warning and I can give love ones back home a heads up.
You can customize what type of alerts you want to be notified of and ignore any other hazard that will not affect you in any way (I live in Tennessee....don't need to worry about any hurricane, tropical, coastal, or marine hazards).
Using iMap you can view radar or satellite imagery with animation while also viewing graphical overlays of various hazards (Storms/Tornadoes. Floods, Winter, Snow, Ice, Freezing, Fog, Wind, Hurricane and Tropical, and Hurricane Tracks). You can also pinpoint your current location using the arrow on the bottom left corner of the screen which can be useful if you are on a road trip and you're approaching inclement weather.
This allows iMWR to alert you of threatening weather conditions down to the street you live at; the one downfall to this feature is that like any other app that uses GPS tracking it will drain your battery. You can adjust the accuracy of the background tracking to help minimize the lost of battery.
If any of your local news stations uses iMap radar this app also provides additional content such as live streaming video coverage of severe weather events (my media partner above is WSMV Ch. 4 in Nashville). When you first download the app you are asked to put in your zip code in order to have access to the local content if it is available in your market (if you move out of your current TV market and want to change media partners you will have to uninstall the app and then reinstall it in order to make the change).
This is only one man's opinion but all in all it is a great app. I've only noticed one bug in the app; when I select one of my programmed cities and go to the radio part of the app to play the 5-day forecast I on occasion receive an error log message in which the audio won't play. It normally happens one time....second try it'll play (as with any app released there may be some minor bugs in the app and normally an update fixes the problem).
Currently the app is on sale for $4.99 for a VERY limited time; after the sale ends it'll be $9.99 at the Google Play Store, but even at full price $10 for an app that could save your or your family's life is a valuable invest. And I'm gonna be brutally honest if you can afford a smartphone and put all sorts of paid apps on your phone....this should be one of the pay apps put on your phone even if you already own a NOAA weather radio. If power goes out and you don't have batteries in your NWR or if the transmitter needed to relay warnings gets taken out having this app can be the difference between getting the warning and seeking timely shelter and having a tragic consequence for not getting the warning.