I thank you again for taking the time to read what I have to say. My recent blog posts have mainly been about weather phenomena and me explaining why they occur. I plan to keep providing updates, but I want to allow for some deviation so that I can talk about technology that I find interesting too.
Since graduating college and finding a job, I now have money to put aside to chase storms and experience what I learned about for four years. Chasing provides a unique coupling of technology with weather. This is what I want to talk about in this post and more to come.
Jumping in... a slight risk was issued for the state of Arizona, so my Fiance and I hit the road and drove out to Wickenburg, Arizona. There is something unique about the drive from Phoenix to Wickenburg, there is no cell service. A couple things are limited when there is no cell service: you cannot view radar and cannot view or use Google maps. The later is the worst condition as you can find yourself lost or stranded in service gaps. This really bothered me but thankfully it is a little hard to get lost between Phoenix and Wickenburg (see image).
Once returning safely from our trip, I decided that I would never be put in that position again. Granted, there are paper DeLorme maps available everywhere, but I am always on the look out to make things easier. Coming from a GIS background, I decided to address the problem in two ways: find maps that could be available offline and have GPS functionality. An additional parameter is I want this to be relevant to phones and tablets, as I do not want to go out and purchase or use a laptop solely for chasing (my reasoning is for another post).
Finding an offline map solely for chasing proved to be difficult to find. Many apps that claim to have offline functionality, came with additional baggage. A general example, most mapping apps want you to download specific tiles, instead of a map of the US. Tile example below.
*Notice the tiles?
I found this to be unacceptable, so my search continued. I found a bare bones app for the Android/iOS market. This app is called CoPilot. CoPilot is interesting because it allows you to download the entire USA road map (roughly 1.9GB, which Android uses FAT32 so as long as your file is under 4GB, it will load fine) directly to your phone. It not only provides a map, but also provides points of interest (gas stations, hotels, restaurants, banks, ect..), navigation, and GPS location while offline. It's quick too! No more waiting for maps to render, it loads as fast as your processor can render them. It has a ton of online material as well, but that is not what we are here to talk about.
To give you an idea of resolution, the last picture in the line up is unpaved (farmer tracks) roads in Kansas. No more sifting through DeLorme maps to find out where the heck you are because your cell service is out. As long as you have a GPS connection, it will pin point your location no matter what 4G service you have or don't have. In up-coming posts, I hope to tackle the GPS service issues with phones/tablets with cool hardware that you can purchase.
Thanks again for reading, I hope you find this interesting!
ALK Technologies, (2014, 10, 7). CoPilot GPS Plan & Explore. [Android and iOS]
Retrieved from: http://www.alk.com/