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Bill Tabor
03-21-2007, 09:49 PM
Was just checking out the storms near LBB in Weathertap and noticed the 'Radarlab HD' icon at the bottom of the nexrad local radar screen. I clicked it and it took me to a Java app that loaded up a high definition radar application with lots of bells and whistles. This appears to be very high res radar. I'm wondering if they are tapped into the new NWS radar standards product. I can see the outflow boundaries in incredible detail. This appears to be a future competitor to GrLevelX. It has multiple layer capabilitiy and loads different types of backgrounds, roads, lightning, warnings, tracks, animations, filters, etc, etc, etc. You'd have to see it to know what I'm talking about. Right now all I see is Base Reflectivity, but I'm thinking it will soon support other products such as Storm Relative Motion. Very cool. I don't see any links on the front of the site or anywhere within talking about it. If you have access to Weathertap check it out. They also have a link for a free trial on the main page which I imagine will let you see it too.

www.weathertap.com (http://www.weathertap.com)

J Kinkaid
03-21-2007, 09:58 PM
Just sighned up for the free trial

Joey Ketcham
03-21-2007, 11:25 PM
I have to admit, that's very cool!

Joey Ketcham
03-21-2007, 11:32 PM
Still playing with it, this is almost cool enough that I'm about ready to start paying a monthly subscription to have it.

J Kinkaid
03-22-2007, 12:00 AM
Still playing with it, this is almost cool enough that I'm about ready to start paying a monthly subscription to have it.

$7 a month seems like a bargain. No one comes close to beating there sat images :)

Doug_Kiesling
03-22-2007, 12:13 AM
Wow that is pretty freaking cool! All it needs now is a GPS tracker and they would end up owning the market.

Joey Ketcham
03-22-2007, 12:30 AM
Wow that is pretty freaking cool! All it needs now is a GPS tracker and they would end up owning the market.

That would rock!

I still love GRLevel3, but this is right up there with GRLevel3.

Dave Carroll
03-22-2007, 08:34 AM
I first noticed it last night, and after playing with it for a while, it does have some cool features. I've long subscribed to Weathertap and use it as a back-up to GrLevel3. As noted above, their satellite imagery is great; plus, something cool you can do if you have a VERY slow cell connection on the road (even analog): they have a PDA version that includes base reflectivity images which load in a flash on a cruddy cell connection, and have enough resolution on a laptop to at least check out what is firing around you. Certainly worth about $75 bucks a year!

Bill Hark
03-23-2007, 03:44 PM
I am enjoying radarlabHD. I did have to load an updated version of Java first. The program has good detail, zooming, surface obs, lightning and warnings. Storm tracks can also be plotted. There is a separate table that can be called up with storm attributes ie dbz, meso, TVS etc.
Unfortunately, when just looking at the radar image, there is no indication of meso or TVS unless I go to the table and match the storm number with the listing on the table. I would prefer a different notation by the storm imnage on radar if there is a meso or tvs without having to go to the table.

Bill Hark

mrobinett
03-24-2007, 02:16 PM
I stumbled across it last night tracking the cells near Dora, NM. I could clearly see what appeared to be a hook that on regular Weathertap looked all pixelated and hard to see, I wasnt sure if it smoothed it and it appeared as a hook.

Ryan McGinnis
03-24-2007, 03:33 PM
$7 a month seems like a bargain. No one comes close to beating there sat images :)

Anyone have a screenshot? The CIRA GOES 11 (http://www1.cira.colostate.edu/Special/CurrWx/G11arm10.asp) and GOES 12 (http://www1.cira.colostate.edu/Special/CurrWx/g12arm10.asp) imagery seems like it'd be really hard to beat resolution wise.

Mike McDonald
03-25-2007, 03:31 AM
Attached are screen grabs at native resolution from the CIRA site, WeatherTAP's normal satellite imagery and the satellite overlay in the new RadarlabHD. I had to trim them down to meet the attachment size limits.

All three show the CONEKS area of the same storms yesterday (3/24). I tried to get them from the same satellite image time, but it looks like the RadarlabHD image is different than the other two.

Having used both the CIRA site and WeatherTAP for a few years, I think the imagery from both sources is about equal in quality and resolution. The biggest difference is that the CIRA images are at an angled projection while the WeatherTAP images are in a vertical projection.

Mike

Gerrit Gulden
03-26-2007, 02:23 PM
I must say that RadarlabHD's radar is quite nice. I think the only flaw is the Java mechanism, for some this takes a while to load, would like to see this as a Weather app. Other than the java mechanism, once RadarLab HD gets going the result is great.

I still wonder whether or not Accuracy is a concern with oversmoothed radar. RadarLabHD does filter out alot of the lower dbz returns compared to a standard Composite Radar loop. In all RadarLabHD's radar is beautiful.

ssimmons
03-27-2007, 12:28 AM
It is nice to see all the positive posts about RadarLab HD. I am one of the developers of this program. One of your members, Dave Carroll, sent us a link to this discussion about RadarLab HD a few days ago. The program is in a beta phase and we are making tweaks here and there. If you can think of any suggestions that would improve the product, please let me know. I've already implemented Bill Hark's suggestion concerning the Storm Tracks. I added the capability to display TVS, MESO and Hail Storm Tracks each with a different color. You can save your own colors for these in the "Default" tab of the settings window. You can also change them using the Storm Table window. I've also added a tooltip for each displayed Storm Track. Now when the mouse moves over the Track centroid, it displays all the information that is listed in the Storm Table. These changes are not out there yet as I just finished coding it a few minutes ago. I should have them out there in the morning and I'll let you guys know when they are there.

To make sure your computer downloads the latest version, you should clear your Java cache. This is done in Windows by bring up the Control Panel (Start->Control Panel or Start->Settings->Control Panel) and clicking on the "Java" icon. This brings up the Java Control Panel. Now click on the "Delete Files" button at the bottom of the page. Now click on the "OK" button at the bottom of the next window. This will remove RadarLab HD from your cache and force it to download the next time you select a site from the web site.

One other suggestion that Doub Kiesling had was to add a GPS tracker to the program. I'm looking at the possibility of adding GPS receiver capability. I'm still not sure if this is possible with Java Web Start, but I'm looking into it.

Again, any suggestions you may have will be helpful. Thanks for your time.

ssimmons
03-27-2007, 09:16 AM
I have the new Storm Track enhancement uploaded to the web site. Be sure to clear your Java cache before accessing RadarLab HD from the site. If you have any questions just let me know. Thanks.

Mike McDonald
03-27-2007, 02:37 PM
A couple of apparent bugs:

I have my default setting as NWS radar colors. However, at startup and every time I switch sites, the colors default to WeatherTAP. I have to go into "Filter Radar" and hit "Reset Images" for the radar to change to NWS colors.

The Radar Info box doesn't seem to update. After the image reloads automatically, or after reloading manually, the time stamp changes, the image changes, but the info in the Radar Info box doesn't. I've had that display be way out of whack with current time and image. Right now for example, the image and time stamp match that on the NWS radar, but the radar info box is 40 minutes behind, even after a manual reload.

Suggested change:
"Auto Refresh" should be on the settings page so it can be stored. I've forgotten to check that box a number of times.

Overall, I like the Radarlab HD.

Mike

Tyler Allison
03-27-2007, 05:18 PM
You could integrate with the SpotterNetwork and folks could just use that client to show their position. Or just show the Spotter locations.

www.spotternetwork.org

I'll be happy to work with you to integrate the data feed. It's free to use and display so no issues there!

ssimmons
03-27-2007, 08:15 PM
Thanks for the info on the color scale and radar info box. I'll look into that. I'll take a look at the SpotterNetwork.

ssimmons
03-27-2007, 08:22 PM
Mike,

Can you check to see what version of RadarLab HD you are running? You can do this by clicking the RadarLab HD logo in the upper right corner. The current version is 1.0V Revision 4. If yours does not say this, can you please follow my step above to clear the Java cache? Java Web Start is supposed to detect when the software has updated and then download the new version but it is not working that way at the moment. We are looking into this.

Mike McDonald
03-27-2007, 08:56 PM
I'm running 1.0 Rev 4, Java VM version 1.6.0 on Windows XP Pro SP1.

Mike

ssimmons
03-28-2007, 02:54 PM
Mike,

I found the problem with the Radar info box not updating. This is being corrected and hopefully will be in place this afternoon or early tomorrow. I still cannot reproduce the color scale problem. We did get Java Web Start to download the updated versions of RadarLab HD. So from now on you should not have to delete your Java cache and you should always get the latest version of the software. Thanks for your help.

Jody Radzik
03-28-2007, 05:28 PM
I have a question about RadarLab HD. I've got it running on my Macs, but I can't seem to find a way to get it to display the velocity scans. Is this something I can do in RL HD, or do I need to go back to WeatherTap to view this data?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Jim Zandonai
03-28-2007, 07:45 PM
" I can't seem to find a way to get it to display the velocity scans. Is this something I can do in RL HD, or do I need to go back to WeatherTap to view this data?"



It isnt available yet in RLHD. For now just the 1 Base Refl. You have to go to the regular RL or apps

Jody Radzik
03-28-2007, 07:49 PM
Thanks for the info, Jim. It seems that an Intel Macbook Pro is the way to go over a G4 given the sad fact there's just not a lot of good weather monitoring software for the Mac. Hopefully one day that will change.

Mike McDonald
03-29-2007, 04:55 PM
Just wanted to say that the apparent bugs I mentioned earlier have been fixed in Radarlab HD revision 6 (which should download automatically). SSimmons has been very helpful working with me offline to resolve them. The latest revision adds a third color scale that was suggested by another user.

Mike

J Kinkaid
03-29-2007, 08:34 PM
Just wanted to say that the apparent bugs I mentioned earlier have been fixed in Radarlab HD revision 6 (which should download automatically). SSimmons has been very helpful working with me offline to resolve them. The latest revision adds a third color scale that was suggested by another user.

Mike


That was skysummit's color scale so I will not take credit for it I just passed the idea along to Stacey

Bill Tabor
04-03-2007, 01:14 PM
Couple of improvements / changes to add. Obviously implementation of Storm Relative Motion and similar products (Vil, Tops, etc) would be great and greatly add functionality - particularly SRM.

Also as I recall chasing on the 30th down near DRT I seem to recall being in a tornado warning county that was displaying as a Flood Warning. Probably the priority should be Tornado Warn. So far I don't recall seeing Torn Warns - only severe. The watches / warnings areas should perhaps be a bit more transparent - however perhaps that is a currently adjustable parameter (I didn't check).

Also when chasing bandwidth is important. I notice every time I zoom in or out it has to redraw the layers for roads, warnings, etc - and that is a bit slow. It would be nice if it didn't have to do that or could do it quicker. It seems it is slower on a cell connection, and that if the connection fails it won't reload the data it already has from other zooms. It also seems to require communication to server and back even though it already has the current data. Auto reload / download of latest image would be nice rather than hitting the Reload button - but I think I remember seeing an auto refresh in options? Will this auto download the latest radar? And yes, GPS integration would be great!

Robbie Cox
04-03-2007, 05:21 PM
I'm having problems when I increase the java box and lose everything on the rightside see screenshot. Also it's such a memory hog

Bill Tabor
04-03-2007, 07:10 PM
Oh, regarding my post above discussing Tornado Warnings showing up as Flood Warnings - that isn't correct. I see now that it handles all Severe Warned counties as a Severe Statement and has one color. So there is no color to distinguish Severe versus Tornado warnings. Obviously that would be a nice feature.

ssimmons
04-06-2007, 11:27 AM
Sorry it took so long for me to respond to the posts here. I've been at the Hurricane Conference in New Orleans all week and just now got back.

1. Adding more radar products: we are planning on adding more of the different radar products in the future.

2. Watches and Warnings: All warnings are displayed in Red. This includes flood and tornado warnings. To determine what type of warning it is, just place your mouse cursor over that area and a tooltip will be displayed showing what type of warning it is as well as the expiration time of that warning. This is also true for the Statements, Advisories and Watches. The watches, warnings and advisories are updated every five minutes. As far as the transparency of the overlays, I am going to make the WWA colors more transparent.

3. Retrieving new images at different zoom levels: The code does retrieve new overlays images of the cities, airports, counties and state boundaries at different zoom levels. I may look at trying to cache some of the overlays to help with this. In the mean time, to help with this you can click and drag the slider to where you want to zoom and then release the mouse button. This way it will only retrieve the data at that zoom level.

4. Auto reload of data: The Auto Refresh check box can be selected to turn on auto updating. This will retrieve the newest data for each layer that is turned on. It will do this every five minutes.

5. GPS Tracking: I'm currently working on adding GPS tracking to RadarLab HD. Hopefully this will be completed within the next couple of weeks.

5. Problem with losing everything on the right side: This is a problem that we are aware of and I'm trying to find the cause of the problem. For some reason at some high screen resolutions, Java does not repaint the window properly. If it does this again, I've found that resizing the window just a little (by clicking on the side of the window and dragging it to make it a little smaller) will make Java repaint the window properly. We are looking into this.

Jody Radzik
04-06-2007, 04:53 PM
1. Adding more radar products: we are planning on adding more of the different radar products in the future.

Just throwing in my two cents, I'd say adding the Level III radar products should be a priority. This would make RadarLab HD much more useful as a storm chasing aid, IMHO, and a real boon for us Macintosh-using chasers.

Bill Tabor
04-10-2007, 04:52 PM
SSimmons...could you speak a bit more about Radarlab HD's radar? Is it displaying level 2 data? Is it using any of the newer NWS standards or products that I heard about awhile back that is supposed to provide higher levels of resolution? Also perhaps a bit about it's smoothing algorithm since this is new to Weathertap. Is it smoothed or interpolated (similar to Grlevel3)?

I looked on the Weathertap site but didn't find any of this information. Typically a product such as this would be advertised with features list a bit more.

ssimmons
04-10-2007, 09:44 PM
Bill,

RadarLab HD displays Level-II Base Reflectivity radar data. The Level-II radar data is, in a sense, higher in resolution than the Level-III radar products since images are shown with 128 colors instead of 15. This provides more detail in intensity and helps the user to see hook echoes and gust fronts more clearly. As for the data itself, we receive the data streaming in from each radar site. Once we have enough data, the radar image is built and available through RadarLab HD. The Base Reflectivity is the first scan the radar completes before tilting and making another scan. As soon as the Base Reflectivity scan is completed, we build the image and make it available in RadarLab HD. We do interpolate and/or smooth the radar data, but I really can't get into the details of what all is involved in this. We do not have a feature list yet as the program is still in a beta test phase. I'm sure once we have all the bugs worked out there will be some documentation on it.

I found the issue you stated earlier about a Tornado Warning area showing up as a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. In fact, the area had both at the same time, but the code was showing the Severe Thunderstorm Warning instead of the Tornado Warning. I'm currently fixing this to make sure the most severe Warning is display for an area if it contains more than one type of Warning.

I also found the problem with the overlay layers being re-download at each zoom level. It is not suppose to do that. I've fixed this so once you download the last zoom level image of an overlay layer, each zoom level beyond this will not re-download the data.

I've corrected the problem that Robbie Cox had stated about the control panel not repainting when the window is resized. This seems to only happen at large screen resolutions with certain Java JVMs. I've coded a work around and it should repaint the control panel on every screen resize.

I've also changed the WWA overlay. The colors are now a lot more transparent and have a thick border drawn around them.

I have not put any of these code changes on the web site yet, but the newest version (Revision 7) will have these changes and should be out there by the end of the week.

If you find any other problems with RadarLab HD, please let me know. Thanks a lot, you guys have been a real help.

Greg Stumpf
04-11-2007, 06:09 AM
We do interpolate and/or smooth the radar data
Please offer an option to turn off the smoothing (that really should be the default). Many radar purists like myself prefer to look at the raw base data.

Bill Tabor
04-12-2007, 09:42 AM
Bill,

RadarLab HD displays Level-II Base Reflectivity radar data.....

If you find any other problems with RadarLab HD, please let me know. Thanks a lot, you guys have been a real help.

Great man! Sounds like some excellent fixes. This should improve it considerably I'm thinking, and thanks for clarifying a bit about the radar itself.

ssimmons
04-12-2007, 09:26 PM
Bill,

The newest revision of RadarLab HD has been uploaded to the web site. This is revision 7 and includes all the changes I listed above. You can check what revision you currently have by clicking on the RadarLab HD logo in the upper right corner of the program. Hopefully, it will say V1.0 Revision 7. If not, you may need to delete you Java cache. Java Web Start it is suppose to automatically download the latest version when you launch it. We have found that it does not always do this. If you do not have Revision 7, you should delete your Java cache and this will force RadarLab HD to download the latest version. To delete the Java cache do the following:

Go to the Control Panel (Start->Control Panel or Start->Settings->Control Panel). Click on the "Java" icon to open the Java Control Panel. Click on the "Delete Files..." button at the bottom of this panel. Then press "OK" on the next window that opens. This should clear your Java cache. Now re-launch RadarLab HD from the weatherTAP.com website.

Jody Radzik
04-12-2007, 09:44 PM
I've been trying to use RadarHD tonight on my iMac dual 2.15 MHz with 2 Gig of RAM running 10.4.9 under both Firefox and Safari. In both cases the new version runs painfully slow on a Sprint PCS Vision internet connection. It's taking literally minutes to load each Radar image. I know I've got at least twice the bandwidth of a 56K connection, yet it's still downloading as if I was on a 1200 baud modem.

ssimmons
04-12-2007, 10:08 PM
Nothing was changed in the code that would cause the images to download slower. The radar images can be quite big depending on how much radar data is in the image. The images could easily be 400-500K in size. I've used RadarLab HD with a Verizon wireless card and it does take a while to download the radar images, but it definitely isn't taking minutes per image. I don't know what your problem might be except a slow internet connection. I have no experience with the Sprint PCS network.

Jody Radzik
04-23-2007, 09:54 PM
I just wanted to say that WeatherTap RadarHD has been working awesome for me today as I practiced nowcasting. I can see this is a great tool for us Mac users at home or out on the road.

Robbie Cox
04-24-2007, 03:45 AM
Another issue that needs corrected is the range ring. right now you must go into setting to apply it or to remove it. Could you add a toggle box to turn on and off under the tab overlay or background ?

Also still a memory hog. on three different computer's you must reboot since it locks up the systems even after freeing up and closing other programs.

Jody Radzik
04-24-2007, 10:35 AM
I just wanted to say that WeatherTap RadarHD has been working awesome for me today as I practiced nowcasting. I can see this is a great tool for us Mac users at home or out on the road.

If it just had the velocity scans, it would be everything I'm looking for in a chasing tool.

ssimmons
04-24-2007, 02:45 PM
RadarLab HD does use quite a bit of memory, but it will only use a maximum of 256 Megs. Each Radar image can be quite big depending on how much data is in the image, and Java decompresses each image so that makes the memory footprint of each image even bigger. So if you have a 200K image it could easily take up 5-6 Megs or memory in Java. This is one thing I don't like about Java. I am currently working on the overlay layers so that they are redrawn at each zoom level. This should help some with the memory usage since the raw overlay data is downloaded instead of images. It will also remove the pixellating that occurs to the roads, cities, airports, county and state boundary overlays at higher zoom levels. We are planning on adding more radar products and are discussing how to go about doing this. I'll let you guys know when the next update has been uploaded to the site.

Bill Tabor
04-25-2007, 12:32 AM
Any estimate on when some of the other products for Radarlab Hd will be available such as SRM, Tops, Vil?

Tonight on Bexar and Atascosa counties (Texas) issued 12:08 it was displaying a severe thunderstorm warning, when they had issued a tornado warning.

I really think (and I think everyone will agree with me) that different colors should distinguish the different warnings. This is especially important when driving and you don't have time to click or mouse over every warning. In fact when they are all the same color you don't really feel the need to check them.

As I recall I also noticed a while back that when I set it to a default station, it had no effect.

I am using revision 8. Text of tornado warning follows:
398
WFUS54 KEWX 250508
TOREWX
TXC013-029-250545-
/O.NEW.KEWX.TO.W.0021.070425T0508Z-070425T0545Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
1208 AM CDT WED APR 25 2007

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN AUSTIN SAN ANTONIO HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
ATASCOSA COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS...
BEXAR COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS...

* UNTIL 1245 AM CDT

* AT 1206 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS HAVE
DETECTED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 7
MILES SOUTHWEST OF SOMERSET...OR ABOUT 10 MILES EAST OF DEVINE...
MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
SOMERSET BY 1215 AM CDT...

ssimmons
04-25-2007, 09:18 AM
Bill,

I sent you a PM addressing your issues.

ssimmons
05-01-2007, 03:02 PM
The newest update to RadarLab HD is now available. This is Revision 9 and contains the following:

1. Fix for the WWA layer not redrawing at certain zoom levels when new data has arrived. This is the problem that Bill pointed out earlier.

2. Tornado Warnings are now plotted in purple and all other Warnings are plotted in red.

3. There is now a County Names overlay so that these can be turned on at any zoom level.

4. The Roads have been split an "Interstates" layer and a "US & State Roads" layer.

4. Now for the major change. The following layers are now redrawn at each zoom level. Airports, City Labels, County Boundaries, County Names, Interstates, US & State Roads and State Boundaries. As you zoom in, each overlay will be redrawn. When panning the image, once the mouse button has been released, the image is then redrawn.

Because of number 4, it may take a few seconds to download and build the Roads, County and State boundaries depending on which site you choose. For instance, the New Orleans State and County boundaries will probably take the longest to download and build since there is so much data for this site. The good thing is that once the overlay is download, it is then used to draw the needed image at each zoom level.

To see which version of RadarLab HD you currently have, click on the RadarLab HD logo in the upper right corner. The current one is "V1.0 Revision 9". If you do not have this one, you may need to delete your Java cache and then relaunch RadarLab HD from the web site. There are instructions on page 2 of this thread (message number 14) for clearing your Java cache. Please let me know if you find any problems with the newest version.

Enjoy!

Jody Radzik
05-01-2007, 05:42 PM
I just downloaded version 9 and find that the road and country boundary lines are much too thick. There needs to be an option to make these lines thinner. It's very useful to have the boundaries and road layers, but with lines this thick the map is practically unreadable.

ssimmons
05-01-2007, 06:19 PM
They can't be much thinner. The County Boundaries and US & State Roads overlays are both two pixels thick. I know it gets pretty busy the more things you overlay. That is why I separated the Interstates from the US & State Roads. At the higher level you can turn the Interstates on and as you zoom in, the US and State Roads become more useful. I have not changed the line thickness from the previous version. On the previous versions you only had a Roads overlay. This displayed only the Interstates until you zoomed to the forth zoom level. At that point the Interstates and the US and State Roads were both displayed.

Jody Radzik
05-01-2007, 08:58 PM
Got it. I guess I wish the roads and boundaries were one pixel wide at the base magnification. I agree that the width is fine when you are zoomed into the image area.

ssimmons
05-01-2007, 10:43 PM
I'll experiment with the roads and boundaries thickness at higher (meaning farther away) zoom levels to see if I can make them a little better. It does make the map unreadable when you have a lot of them turned on at a higher zoom level.

ssimmons
05-02-2007, 02:36 PM
Just put Revision 10 out. I made some more modifications to the Watches, Warnings and Advisories. Please make sure you are using this new version. Because of this update, now the previous versions will not display the WWA text when you click on a WWA area. These WWAs are going to be the death of me!

Thanks.

Greg Stumpf
05-03-2007, 07:44 AM
Still no way to turn off the radar smoothing?

ssimmons
05-03-2007, 07:52 AM
The radar images are built on our servers with the smoothing. RadarLab HD then downloads the images for display. There is no way to unsmooth the images since RadarLab HD does not do the smoothing.

Greg Stumpf
05-03-2007, 08:03 AM
Why not turn it off on the servers, or produce a set of unsmoothed images on the server and offer a choice on the display?

ssimmons
05-03-2007, 09:32 PM
Hey Bill Tabor, I can't send you any more Private Messages as it says your box is full. Can you PM me your email address. I have a few more questions for you. Thanks.

ssimmons
05-23-2007, 10:37 AM
Version 1.0 Revision 11 has now been uploaded to the weathertap.com site. here are the changes:

1. Storm tracks can now be filtered either manually or automatically. Before, you could only filter them manually. Now you can set up some parameters that each storm track must meet if it is to be displayed. This automatic filter will be applied to all currently loaded radar images as well as new images that come in by auto refresh or when the reload button is pressed. You can set the automatic filtering options by clicking on the "Storm Table" button. You can turn automatic filtering on by default by clicking on the "Automatic Filtering" option in the settings window.

2. The Roads, Interstates, County and State boundaries are now plotted using user defined colors and sizes. You can set these by clicking on the "Settings" button.

3. Last and most important, we have found that we cannot rely on Java Web Start to detect newer versions of RadarLab HD and download them. We have not had good success with this. Therefore, I have put some code in this version to automatically check for a new version of RadarLab HD every time it is launched. If a newer version is found, it is downloaded and a message box will prompt you that a newer version has been downloaded. So from this version on, you should not have to delete your Java cache to make sure you have the latest version of RadarLab HD.

To see if Java Web Start has downloaded this latest version of RadarLab HD, click on the RadarLab HD logo in the upper right corner of the program. The version number should read "V1.0 Revision 11". If it does not, then you need to delete your Java cache using the directions supplied in post number 14 of this thread.

Thank you,
Stacey

Jody Radzik
05-23-2007, 10:42 AM
Please add the velocity scans next. It would make RadarLab HD sooooo much more useful as an in-the-field chasing tool.

ssimmons
05-23-2007, 10:55 AM
We're working on adding more radar scans as well as GPS tracking. I wanted to get this latest revision out mainly because of the code added to check for a new version of RadarLab HD. Actually, the GPS coding is almost finished. It is working on windows based systems, but we're just trying to get it to work on a Mac now.

Jim Rood
05-23-2007, 07:25 PM
ssimons, used RadarLab HD and GRlevel3 trials and prefer the RadarLab HD. I have not ordered for two reasons: No GPS interface and my default settings change everytime I change radar sites. Is this common in the trial version and will it correct itself with the real version (I hope)? Will the GPS interface work with my MS S&T puck? Finally, do you have an approx. date the GPS will be offered?

Thanks,
-jim.

Robert Dewey
05-23-2007, 07:30 PM
I like it as too, but I'm afraid the option to turn off smoothing (or used un-smoothed images) really limits me.

ssimmons
05-23-2007, 08:02 PM
Jim,

To answer your questions about RadarLab HD:

1. Hopefully, the GPS interface will be completed in a week or so. It all depends on how the Mac testings goes. We may have to offer the GPS interface for Windows only, but I hope not. The GPS will work with the Microsoft Street and Trips puck, that is what I used during development. It will work with any GPS device that outputs in the NMEA standard.

2. Yes, the default settings will work as they are designed when you subscribe. The problem you are seeing with the default settings changing is because the settings are stored in our database per user account. The trial account user name and password is given out to everyone that requests a free trial for that week. So if someone changes the default settings with the trial user name, you will see those changes when you launch RadarLab HD with that same user name.

Jim Rood
05-23-2007, 08:22 PM
Thanks Stacey,

I'll be looking here for an update when the GPS feature is functional.

Eric Friedebach
05-24-2007, 01:14 PM
Stacey, are there any plans to release a version that would work on Windows Mobile devices such as the Sprint Moto Q?

ssimmons
05-24-2007, 01:54 PM
Eric,

We do not have plans for mobile version. It would be neat to have, but currently there are no plans for it.

Chad Cowan
06-21-2007, 10:35 PM
Revision 12 of RadarLab HD is out and GPS tracking is now available. Once they add velocity scans, this program could rival GRLx.

Jason Boggs
06-22-2007, 05:27 AM
Sorry, but it will never ever rival GrLevelX.

Robert Dewey
06-22-2007, 10:04 AM
The (non) option to turn off smoothing really makes it a no-go for me. Why they don't store both smoothed and non-smoothed images is beyond me, and seems to be in total disregard to what their customers want.

As for Jason's input... It's not meant to rival all of the GRLevelX software applications. Instead, it rivals L2 software because you're getting L2 images, not the entire huge datasets; that can be a real advantage for those in the field. If they would just have an option to turn off that ridiculous smoothing that a few have complained about, it'd be a go for many mobile users seeking L2 data in the field.

For L3 - You're better off with an application that processes data, because the datasets are typically smaller than the actual image file.

BTW... arguing "GRLevelX is teh b3st!" or "s0rry, but wxTAP HD R4D4R R0cKs!" seems kind of pointless... you really need to weigh each application. Aesthetically, arguing which one is better is a no-win argument.

ssimmons
06-22-2007, 10:21 AM
Yes, GPS functionality is now available in RadarLab HD. We had a hard time deciding how we were going to include this. The problem is that in order to have GPS capability, we must ask for access to the userís computer through Java Web Start. This prompts a security warning stating that RadarLab HD is asking for access to the computer. Of course, any software program you have downloaded onto your computer has access to it, but Java Web Start is different. Through Java Web Start you do not have access to anything on the userís computer. RadarLab HD needs to have access to the serial port on the computer in order for GPS to work. Because of this, we have decided to add another page that will launch RadarLab HD with the GPS enabled. There is now a link for the GPS enabled RadarLab HD on the standard RadarLab page: http://www.weathertap.com/protected/static/radarlab.html. If you do not open RadarLab HD from the GPS page, the GPS options will be disabled. So if you choose to open RadarLab HD as you normally do, you will NOT be prompted with a security warning and the GPS capability will NOT be enabled. If you open RadarLab HD from the GPS page, you will be prompted with a security warning that you must accept and then RadarLab HD will load with the GPS capabilities enabled. If you want the GPS enabled version to launch from your desktop, you must delete your Java cache and then relaunch RadarLab HD from the GPS page. Directions are here for deleting your Java cache: http://blog.weathertap.com/2007/05/do_you_have_the_latest_version.html. Iím currently working on a blog entry explaining everything. There are directions about how to connect to your GPS device in the Help page of RadarLab HD. It is at the very bottom of the page. Mac users especially need to read this section.

Robert Dewey
06-22-2007, 03:04 PM
It seems like this thread is just dancing around core issues... what about velocity scans? the option to turn off smoothing? a KISS image solution (i.e. Keep It Simple, Stupid), whereby it's possible to pull the L2 images in a simple interface, like GR?

Let's discuss those topics.

rdale
06-22-2007, 10:13 PM
Keep the suggestions coming - from what I've heard so far the next version (v2, not a minor upgrade) of the NWS's RIDGE viewer will have many of these features, and they are likely monitoring this thread as development continues.

And it'll remain free and open to all!

Robert Dewey
06-23-2007, 07:05 AM
Keep the suggestions coming - from what I've heard so far the next version (v2, not a minor upgrade) of the NWS's RIDGE viewer will have many of these features, and they are likely monitoring this thread as development continues.

And it'll remain free and open to all!

...in the meantime, WeatherTap is paying taxes, which is helping to further the development of v2. Nothing like a little competition, eh?

Ryan McGinnis
06-23-2007, 10:13 AM
Access to weather radar is something that the public fundementally deserves from their government. The RIDGE viewer kinda sucks as it is right now, at least compared to commercial solutions. If they make the RIDGE viewer better, great -- then WeatherTap will have to make their viewer, which apparently has some serious issues, even better. That's life.

Mr. Gibson doesn't seem to be having much trouble selling GRLevelX products for relatively high prices (for software), so why all the tears in the beer about NWS competition? Again, if the government is managing to outperform what your private company is doing, then you're either doing it wrong or your service has no reason to exist in the private sector. Offer things that targeted users really want but that the government has no reason to provide. Like, for example, the GPS functionality in GR3, or the customizable placefiles, or the 3D storm rendering in GR2AE.

Dick McGowan
06-23-2007, 10:24 AM
I think it would be better if it didn't take forever to load, even switching radar sites took longer than I would want it to. For storm chasers, on slow internet connections, I wonder how long it would take?? Velocity scans would be nice too, and paying 6.95 a month isn't as appealing as a one-time fee to purchase. Other than that, I like the different choices for backgrounds, the lightning data, and the visible satellite overlay.

Bill Tabor
07-27-2007, 12:39 PM
I agree, I like Radarlab Hd but for me without Velocity I generally will not use it related to chasing. However I do prefer it's output and display for Base better than standard Weathertap, and comparable to Grlevelx.

I assume Velocity will be available by next chase season....no? This will be a nice product then and 'yes' I have used this in the field and it takes a little bit to load but with a decent cell phone connection it wasn't too bad and still usable IMO. I've had a Weathertap subscription for a long time and I may continue to keep it if this product improves.

Jim Zandonai
11-03-2007, 07:34 PM
They just added the other products to Radar HD program. The other products are derived or level 3 products including the velocity. If I am reading this right as it says the only True level 2 product is base reflectivty.
I have always liked Weathertap stuff personally. Most of you that have it know its a decent product with some excellent products.
However I still think GRlevel 2 and 3 products are the best. Storm Lab is a great product too IMHO.
No doubt we have many products at our disposal these days.

rdale
11-03-2007, 09:51 PM
True "Level II" includes reflectivity, velocity and spectrum width.

Bill Tabor
12-19-2007, 02:10 PM
Ah, yes...I see revision 16 is out and includes storm relative velocity and radial velocity - along with a few others. So Weathertap reps are these velocity products Level 2 or 3? Of course we would love level 2 for these as that is what I understand Radarlab Hd is about, but if this is intermediate to eventually providing that at least it makes the tool much more useful for now, and that before the next season begins.

I'll begin checking it out as new storm systems develop and chase season approaches.

Bill Tabor
12-19-2007, 02:18 PM
Oh another thing to consider between this and Grlevelx products I believe is this will display lightning and vis / ir satellite info whereas I don't believe Grlevelx does although I am not up on the current version. I assume Gr.. could display if it had it available as just another layer.

It's also pretty cool that the select map/station page is actually a large US map overlayed with radar so you can actually visualize what you are selecting stationwise as opposed to just choosing a station without having a more regional/US radar view. If Grlevelx doesn't do this, it is something I think it should have always done. I believe I think I even mentioned it to them as a suggestion some years back.

Gene Moore
12-21-2007, 11:39 AM
Ah, yes...I see revision 16 is out and includes storm relative velocity and radial velocity - along with a few others. So Weathertap reps are these velocity products Level 2 or 3? Of course we would love level 2 for these as that is what I understand Radarlab Hd is about, but if this is intermediate to eventually providing that at least it makes the tool much more useful for now, and that before the next season begins.
Good find Bill! I was beginning to wonder if they were going to upgrade to velocity. I'll probably try them out again next spring (as a radar backup) because I like their satellite shots and they don't suffer from overcrowded server problems like COD and NCAR radar sites. Not sure if it's been mentioned ....I haven't been in this thread for a while. The GRLevelX software doesn't seem to load up on the CPU like Radarlab HD does. Thus I rate GRLevelX better for a laptop on the road running off a cellular connection.

Chad Cowan
12-21-2007, 01:23 PM
The GRLevelX software doesn't seem to load up on the CPU like Radarlab HD does. Thus I rate GRLevelX better for a laptop on the road running off a cellular connection.

That's because Radarlab is a java web-based program and is not launched from your hard drive. If you lose your internet connection, GRLx will keep trying to download the data and displays it when the connection has been reestablished. Radarlab, on the other hand, requires the user to either change radar sites or relaunch the applet if it tries to refresh the data and there is no connection. It's a big hassle especially during crunch time.

Radarlab has made some significant upgrades in the past year including a GPS overlay, velocity data, polygon warnings and the option to show smoothed or unsmoothed data. It has the potential to be a great program, but it takes too much valuable time to load the data and the program.

SSimmons, what is the next upgrade? Any plans on making Radarlab a PC-based program?

ssimmons
12-21-2007, 03:28 PM
Right now there are not any plans to make it a PC based program. There are a couple of things we are wanting to add. I do not want to mention them just yet because we need to get management approval to do them. And just to answer a question Bill had, only the base reflectivity is Level-II (that is why it has the Level-II beside it). All others are the Level-III products. Hopefully, we will be able to add more Level-II products in the future. We are currently working on updating our Level-II decoder as NOAA is making software changes in February that affect how the Level-II data will be decoded.

Any changes or upgrades we make will be posted on our blog (http://blog.weathertap.com/).

Bill Tabor
01-08-2008, 09:15 AM
Thanks for the reply.

I was checking out the gps enabled version the other day. Does the gps only refresh every time the radar is refreshed? What about gps tracks or a trail?

Also I just noticed under storm attributes / storm tracks that meso's are numbered. Is this level of intensity? If so, what is the scale as it isn't listed under help?

ssimmons
01-08-2008, 10:31 AM
Bill,

The GPS location is constantly updated as new location data is received from the GPS device. There is an option on the GPS Information page that allows you to turn the track on or off and also to clear the track data. You can also specify how thick of a track line you want to draw along with what symbol you want drawn for your current location. These can be changed and any time. The color of the gps location can also be changed to what ever you want.

The MESO field listed on the Storm Track was listed as either "MESO", "UNCO", "3DCO" or "NONE". Most radar sites have been updated to use the new NSSL Mesocyclone Detection Alogrithm (MDA). With the new MDA software, this MESO field is listed as a "strength rank". The strength rank is a number ranging from 1-25 with 1 being the weakest MDA feature and 25 being the strongest. If no MDA detected feature is found within 20 km of the storm cell, it will be listed as "NONE".

I'll add this to the help section on RadarLab HD.

Bill Tabor
01-09-2008, 11:39 PM
Bill,

The GPS location is constantly updated as new location data is received from the GPS device. There is an option on the GPS Information page that allows you to turn the track on or off and also to clear the track data. You can also specify how thick of a track line you want to draw along with what symbol you want drawn for your current location. These can be changed and any time. The color of the gps location can also be changed to what ever you want.

Guess I didn't test it long enough. It didn't seem to be changing or moving, but I was in a residential area and it didn't show the road I was on so it was hard to tell. I'll try and test it more soon. Are there plans to make the roads displayed more detailed? I'm looking into the Autonet product which may provide good connects while chasing most of the time to the internet. If so this may somewhat eliminate the need for Threatnet and instead make a product such as Radarlab Hd, or Swift, or Grlevelx - all with GPS a more attractive product if they provide good visible roads for navigation. The roads on Mobile Threatnet are fairly detailed and become more so as you drill down to lower levels. Sometimes I navigate using this unless I need some extra info from Street Atlas which I also have running in the background. I'd say the perfect product would be a marriage between a product like Street Atlas to a radar/severe weather product like Radarlab Hd. However looking at the map may be a bit cumbersome with all the stuff overlayed however as I recall Swift gets around that toggling off/on layers or actually looking at tabbed pages that only show one product at a time.



The MESO field listed on the Storm Track was listed as either "MESO", "UNCO", "3DCO" or "NONE". Most radar sites have been updated to use the new NSSL Mesocyclone Detection Alogrithm (MDA). With the new MDA software, this MESO field is listed as a "strength rank". The strength rank is a number ranging from 1-25 with 1 being the weakest MDA feature and 25 being the strongest. If no MDA detected feature is found within 20 km of the storm cell, it will be listed as "NONE".

I'll add this to the help section on RadarLab HD.

When I saw it the column didn't say either MESO UNCO 3DCO or NONE - that is what confused me. All it showed was a number which didn't make much sense. I still don't get it.

ssimmons
01-10-2008, 08:32 AM
We would like to add more detailed roads to RadarLab HD, but that is a lot of data to load and we haven't come up with a good way to allow this. It might be an option some time in the future.

As for the Storm Track MESO information, you can read more about the change here (http://www.roc.noaa.gov/PDFS/RPCCDS.pdf). At the top of the third page is where it talks about the strength rank for the MDA.

Bill Tabor
01-10-2008, 01:11 PM
We would like to add more detailed roads to RadarLab HD, but that is a lot of data to load and we haven't come up with a good way to allow this. It might be an option some time in the future.

I would think the best way is when you install the product. I would likely limit the liberal re-installs of the product. Seems currently it detects a new version is available and auto installs that whenever you start the product. It is probably better to detect it and ask if you want to update to the latest version. That way you don't get an update in the middle of the field on low bandwidth while trying to just get a radar update.

Anyway if you do it as part of the install, or even as a separate step such as when you get the gps version - or even just as a separate update as roads or maps - I think it makes more sense than trying to grab everything online while chasing and trying to switch to a different radar station. Keep in mind we often have fairly low speed connects in the field and this has to be quick and light. With Threatnet you install the roads one time and they are there.

On another note, I'm starting to think tab browsing in Radarlab Hd is the way to go. In other words provide many of the products separately on tabs. These tabs would then be loaded and remain, and can quickly be selected and switched to for comparison. I was just checking this out with the severe weather out toward Georgia. I'll download 8 frames of Storm Relative Motion and then I'll toggle back to Base Reflectivity. Each time - even though the data hasn't changed, it has to reload (probably re-download the data) - this very slow. Compare that to Grlevelx or Swift. I believe both of these just toggle to the other tab immediately. This effectively allows you to have both (or more than 2) products always available. By toggling between multiple screens with all screens positioned the same way you can quickly compare features such as reflectivity signature to velocity signature for detecting tornadic areas. Other products such as Vil, composite, etc are also useful this way, Or even different level scans of a product. The advantage of tabs is they can quickly be user selected or possibly even selected back and forth using a tab key. Currently Radarlab uses selectable check boxes. These could be fairly quick if the data is immediately displayed or if you can cursor between each and redisplay the already downloaded current data, but right now the cursor key doesn't work this way with Radarlab Hd.

The way I see it you either need the tabs, or you need to keep the data resident in memory and when a user requests a different product for comparison the tool checks to see if the data is old. If it is, it goes ahead and grabs the latest data. If it isn't it just quickly displays what it has.

So, to summarize...load the maps separately at install, limit inadvertent installs in the field, keep radar data resident for quick display with possible tab browsing as solution.



As for the Storm Track MESO information, you can read more about the change here (http://www.roc.noaa.gov/PDFS/RPCCDS.pdf). At the top of the third page is where it talks about the strength rank for the MDA.

Interesting..So will 3DCO, UNCO no longer be used? I thought that had more to do with the symmetry of the rotation signature rather than just strength. If so seems we would be perhaps losing some information. However, it's pretty cool they changed the algorithm to only identify MESO (now MDA's) which are co-located within 20km of a SKIT. Guess I need to remember the range 1-25.

ssimmons
01-10-2008, 04:39 PM
Bill,

RadarLab HD currently works like you are suggesting with keeping data in memory and not downloading it every time. All data that is download (except Radar) is kept in memory and is not downloaded every time the check box is selected. Radar is the only exception to this. You can try this out by clicking on an overlay like the Interstates, US & State Roads, IR Satellite or any other overlay and let it load. Then uncheck and recheck the selection and you will see the the data does not download. Radar is the one exception to this mainly because of the amount of data each image requires to load. Right now I have RadarLab HD set to use a maximum of 256 Megs of memory. And if you have all the overlays turned on with 20 radar animations, it gets pretty close to this amount. It would use a whole lot more memory to make 2 or three different sets of radar images loaded at the same time.

Bill Tabor
01-10-2008, 04:57 PM
Yeah, I'm talking about the radar data. That somehow needs to not be downloaded each time. The other tools don't do this each time, and it really slows things down when you have to do it. Even if it has to be loaded to disk that would be quicker than a download. I'm thinking (if need be) have it store the images to disk and only download them if they are old.

Bill Tabor
01-10-2008, 11:27 PM
I don't see station KEOX listed on Radarlab Hd.

ssimmons
01-11-2008, 03:58 PM
Radar Station KEOX does not output Level-II radar data. There are a few radar sites that are currently not outputing Level-II data. I think these are all the FAA owned sites. That is why it is not available in RadarLab HD.

Terry Tyler
01-11-2008, 05:07 PM
the program looks pretty cool, and i like it...

the only thing i dont like is how slow it is to respond...the thing responds, soooooo slowly it actually gets to the point i have to ctrl+alt+delete and terminate the program...it really is a beautiful program, but it just it cripples my computer whenever i use it...

i use the online radar when it comes down to the point where i need to get faster updates...with that said, ive never ever had lagging issues with GRlevel3...i think its because its a javascript thing...i dont know...

Gene Moore
01-20-2008, 11:31 AM
We would like to add more detailed roads to RadarLab HD, but that is a lot of data to load and we haven't come up with a good way to allow this. It might be an option some time in the future.
I've been testing the new upgraded version with velocity and I like it, good work! Over GRLevelX I like the convenience of having a full package with everything already on board. That is, I can switch to satellite overlay without changing programs and have the same scaled background as the radar. Likewise with surface obs, county names, warnings and the roads, nice. The contouring looks good until zoomed in too much then we start to return to a blocky pattern. I still don't think you have quite the resolution as GRLevelX, but the package deal makes up for it in convenience. It's resolution is better than any other currently offered online radar.....NWS, Accuweather, COD etc.

A few questions and concerns:
- Why the splatter pattern (elongated echoes) at the center that includes both ground clutter and echoes? This goes out about 25 miles. I can filter some of this, but it begins to degrade important storm features.
- Can we smooth the radar tops, all I get is big blocks...may be my fault?
- I see two contour color schemes, yours and NWS can more be added?
- Wish you had another layer of state roads as already asked. For storm chasers these roads are very important. The place to turn into the updraft, or escape the gorilla hail. Perhaps just some of the most popular chase states as an option: TX to Dakotas, Iowa, eastern Co, S'rn half of MN etc.

Gene Moore

ssimmons
01-21-2008, 02:05 PM
Gene,

The "splatter pattern" that you talk about is part of the Level-II radar data. I'm not sure exactly what it is. We decoded the data as we receive it and for what ever reason these splatter patterns seem to be present in the Level-II data.

The echo tops overlay cannot be smoothed. It is pretty low resolution data (4KM) and smoothing doesn't help much with these images. We have decided to only allow smoothing on the reflectivity images.

Currently there are three different color schemes. We might add the capability to add a custom color scale in the future. This has not be decided on.

ssimmons
04-17-2008, 08:26 PM
Just uploaded a RadarLab HD update. This update includes:

Storm path estimates
Custom color scale
Warnings now split into "Severe Warnings" and "Other Warnings" to help with cluttering

You can read more about it here (http://blog.weathertap.com/2008/04/radarlab_hd_version_10_revisio.html).

ssimmons
06-11-2008, 10:43 AM
New version of RadarLab HD has been deployed. It includes:

SpotterNetwork
Local Storm Reports
Ability to move around your Real-time lightning coverage area whenever you want.

You can read more about it here (http://blog.weathertap.com/2008/06/new_additions_in_radarlab_hd_v.html).

Scott Taylor
06-11-2008, 11:41 AM
Nice updates! Thanks

Bill Tabor
09-13-2008, 05:40 PM
While out chasing the tropical storm Ike today I have a new chase vehicle and have turned off Threatnet for the offseason so decided to run with Radarlab Hd and the gps in order to know my position relative to the storm and view radar. Here are my observations, experiences, and comments for improvement:

For Radarlab HD
Level 2 is pretty hard to load while travelling especially if multiple frames / looped
Cannot abort a download without hard kill on app
While downloading you lose all previous radar displayed until finished download. With poor
connection and animation this is a problem. Radar should remain available during downloads.
Could use separate tabs for different radar sites opened rather than separate loading apps
Problem when you switch radar site you lose your gps, then you have to close app to get and
reinitialize to get it to work again.
To switch site you have to first stop the gps communication then switch site and then reset any
preferences such as color, icon, display track and whether or not you want gps to display
Gps is a bit hard to get to work. If you choose the wrong com setting such as port then you
actually have to close Radarlab Hd and restart before choosing the proper one.
Composite reflectivity is faster loading. Recommend a level III base reflectivity for quicker
load and smaller files if a person doesn't want to use level 2 because of bandwidth issues.
Other than that once running gps works good; however more roads are needed to actually use it
for navigation. Additionally smaller roads should probably only show up when zoomed in, or
like Threatnet make the detail adjustable based on preference.