Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Geographical Warnings

Tom and I have been discussing Geographical Warnings. These are warnings based on your location. Weather Message now has the capability to send emails and pages based on a fixed latitude / longitude falling inside or near a polygon.

A really neat application would be to have your gps equipped phone know when it is getting near or inside a watch or warning. Is that possible? Yes and it is not too difficult.

It would require one of two approaches.

1) Run an application on the smartphone that would send the current gps position to a weather server. The server would then search the active watch and warning products to see if the position is near or inside one of the watch and warnings. The application would then alert the user. I am thinking that it would have to send that position once per minute.

2) Run an application on the smartphone that would receive a SMS/email message that contains the polygon information. The application would then check the current position against the polygon and issue an alert. The information would only need to be sent once. It would be the applications responsibility to keep the active watch / warnings in memory and check once per minute to see if the phone was in a warned area.

With smart devices (phones and pda's) this application could work. Some major players in technology have been talking about this for sometime. They even want to put this in cars...

So can it be done on a Weather Message budget? I believe a low cost server solution is possible. All it would take is a user that wants this capability, a phone that supports Windows Mobile and a calling plan that allowed for unlimited SMS or reasonable internet access.

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