Crowdsourcing has made it big since the Internet forced its way into our daily lives, and these days some of the world’s most visited collections of data are built entirely by crowd efforts – take Wikipedia for example. Meanwhile the waves of success lap at the shore of Kickstarter, the web’s current preferred method of raising money without selling your soul to a venture capitalist.
It was only a matter of time before the weather became another outlet for crowdsourcers to exercise their collective might, and that’s exactly what weather app Wezzoo is going for. In addition to rock-solid reliable data from hundreds of weather stations around the world, users are able to report on conditions in their own back yards.
If you’re a bit of a weather fanatic – or British (same thing?) – then you might want to check it out.
Cloudsourcing And Other Puns
The concept of using real people to tell the weather is a mixed bag. On the one hand, millions of us are now permanently connected to the Internet via our phones which never leave the cellular network. Then again, people aren’t exactly reliable – and no single human can provide as much data as a weather station. So what use does an app like Wezzo really have? It doesn’t predict the weather, and so it has no forecasting abilities. Your iPhone has no temperature, wind or barometric monitoring equipment and thus can’t provide accurate conditions. Then again a picture and description is easily relatable, and Wezzo is more than capable of that.
Luckily the app also plugs into a couple of hundred proper weather stations located around the world, for up to date conditions and a temperature. In certain areas – notably Africa, much of Asia and even Australia this is a good thing because there aren’t a lot of people regularly reporting on conditions using this app at the moment. Conversely, Europe and the US are packed with reports from both users and weather stations.
Weather geeks will probably enjoy the concept, and the execution isn’t bad either. Reports are viewable on a map (which is powered by Google, interestingly enough) as well as in the Activity tab which provides a chronological feed of incoming reports. Of course being a crowdsourcing service, some clowns insist on posting reports with pictures of cuddly toys or backgrounds – but then this is the problem with people in general, not the app or service.
Interestingly Wezzoo isn’t just limited to iPhone but also works on the web. Unfortunately the website is better for checking out reports than posting new ones, with no ability to add pictures (rightfully so) and generally the whole experience works better if you’re out-and-about or at home on your phone.
Submitting a report is as simple as hitting the central “Wezzoo” button. I’m calling it that because I have no idea what else to call it, but it’s the big enticing central button. The first thing you will see is what the developers are calling the “rotary knob”. Slide your finger around the small circles and you’ll see some pretty pictures indicating various weather conditions, from stormy to fine, and hot to heavy snow. Unless you’re witnessing fire tornadoes or frogs falling from the sky, all weather conditions are covered.
Next you can add a bit more info, including a picture and description as well as the temperature. The temperature is an exact figure in either centigrade or Fahrenheit, rather than “hot” or “freezing”, probably because to a lot of people these are subjective terms. Still, it would be nice to have some middle ground because I am not a walking thermometer and nor are you. This screen also lets you auto-Tweet or post to Facebook quickly, of course you’ll have to connect your accounts first.
In a refreshing twist for such an app you don’t actually need an account to post reports. Tapping on the Profile tab will let you sign up, add an avatar and keep your updates in one neat spot and allow other users to follow you via the Activity tab. If you enable notifications the app will remind you (at a time of your choosing) to submit a weather report, a nice feature if you’re forgetful like me. There are also notifications for comments on your reports and new followers, as well as major weather events which might actually be useful if you’re regularly at risk of extreme conditions.
Wezzoo is the natural progression of all things crowd sourcing. It’s a cool concept, and it’s fun to see what’s going on around the world. The real-time element is fun, especially with pictures, but it would be nice to be able to separate user reports and weather stations at a glance. If you’re a bit of a weather geek then you’ll almost definitely want to check this out, and for the rest of you there’s always Wezzoo.com for up-to-date reports from users on a map.
Do you like Wezzoo? Got any more recommendations for weather apps? Give us the forecast in the comments, below.