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Interactive weather map iMap launches for G1 Android phone

Weather Decision Technologies Inc. has launched an iMap Weather application for G1 T-Mobile phone customers.

iMap Weather offers graphically enriched street level location-based severe weather and radar display in a downloadable service accessed directly from G1 phones. The application is made up of interactive radar maps and allows users to explore local weather conditions interactively, create pinpoint forecasts, and zoom in and out of radar weather data for current or desired locations.

"What is really new here is that mobile weather is becoming a much richer experience and more relevant to someone on the move," said Matther Piette, chief marketing officer at Weather Decision, Norman, Ok. "Most weather applications just give you current conditions and forecasts for a broad territory.

"iMap Weather offers location-based, personal weather based on your precise longitude and latitude coordinates, either through GPS or triangulation within the cellular network," he said.

Weather Decision supplies 14 out of the top 15 weather companies in the United States with weather data, as well as international meteorological offices and the military.

The application launches with the user's current location and then follows the user by serving up local weather to wherever you travel to during the day.

We offer things like watches and warnings and up-to-the-minute lightning strike data, as well as radar.

The weather data itself is constantly updating and is in high resolution.

Also, mobile customers can access radar images for oncoming severe weather, in relation to where they are are.

"You can zoom in and out, so there are less false alarms about oncoming weather patterns," Mr. Piette said. "In other words, you are not being given a percentage chance of a weather event happening, you can see exactly when and where the weather event is going to occur, and make critical decisions accordingly."

The radar tiling matches the Google Maps tiling, so it is extremely detailed, offering television-quality graphics of radar zones. It's completely interactive.

"Put simply, we are taking power away from the weatherman and literally placing weather intelligence in the palm of your hands," Mr. Piette said.

Android is a complete, open mobile phone software stack.

It includes everything a manufacturer or operator needs to build a mobile phone.

Android was designed from the ground up to enable the best user experience possible on a mobile phone. It leverages Web and Internet content to provide advanced services such as mobile mash-ups and location-based applications for example.

By creating a complete platform where the mobile device is open and integrated with the Internet, everyone in the mobile ecosystem will benefit.

Carriers will be free to customize the platform to bring innovative new handsets to market faster and at a much lower cost.

With a broader baseline set of functionality, developers will be free to focus their efforts on innovative and differentiating features.

Consumers will enjoy a better user experience with more mobile choices and applications, making their day-to-day lives more productive and enjoyable.

"Our strategy is to extend beyond being the engine behind weather systems by entering into new weather markets, such as mobile and the new Android Market," Mr. Piette said. "Our vision is to provide weather intelligence to millions of users who may have no easy or direct access to accurate, location-based weather information right now."

Weather Decision is part of the Open Handset Alliance, a group of more than 30 technology and mobile companies who have come together to accelerate innovation in mobile and offer consumers a richer, less expensive, and better mobile experience.

"The Android Market allows for quite a lot of freedom on the developer side to provide value-added services which can be revenue-generating for participating companies," Mr. Piette said.

"With a weather application, you need to develop advertising solutions that do not interfere with the core information request," he said. "We see enormous opportunities in providing contextual advertising information which adds value to the overall weather experience."

An example might be weatherproof clothing promotions associated with contextual weather look-ups in the Rockies in December, or water ski store location milestones associated with weather look-ups in July, in southern Florida.

iMap Weather provides essential weather information to consumers and business professionals while they are in motion.

The idea of weather intelligence in motion is still at a very early stage of development for most mobile carriers here in the U.S. and internationally.

"We are moving people beyond passively ingesting weather information towards making sound and actionable decisions based on watches and warnings, radar animations, and the most recent lightning strike information, for example," Mr. Piette said.

"We believe the need for this is fundamental - whether you stay where you are or move a few miles down the road to avoid severe weather can be a core issue of safety and security for many people, from farmers, to real estate agents, to families on vacation in the great outdoors," he said.

"We want to keep people informed and safe."