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What is the best home dopplar radar tool
06-02-2006, 11:19 PM
Post: #31
What is the best home dopplar radar tool
Ocala.....I totally agree. People like it, so it's here to stay (smoothing), just hope that whoever is doing the programming is more worried about data integrity than overall looks.

Ares, Baron's may very well be the most advanced, but it's also the most expensive. Most people aren't going to shell out that kind of money no matter how serious they are about the weather (those that consider weather a hobby and not a job). I'm not trying to knock any of the programs.....I think that all have their little niche and I don't fault anyone for liking something different than what I do.....

For both of you, SwiftWx currently has a National Radar that is a composite of all the other sites (seems to be a base reflectivity composite and not another tilt or overall composite reflectivity image). You can zoom anywhere in the U.S. and there are several overlays you can do. Some of these are:

Watches
Warnings
Storm Reports (those reported to the NWS officially)
Storm Attributes (same tabular info as in StormLab, direction, ID#, hail
probability, etc....) along with the tracks that can be shown on the map.
Cities
Roads
Counties
States (those last 4 can all be turned on/off as can all the others)
Custom Layers (using ESRI GIS shapefiles.....I have lakes, rivers, and you
can even have railroads, and several others)
Convective Outlook (Day 1 obviously)
Mesoscale Discussions
Even GPS locations of yourself and other SwiftWx users....it is totally cool
getting to watch chasers using the program while out chasing. You can
see them tracking a storm.
Finally, Surface Observations

Again, I don't think there are too many programs out there that can do more than that. They may/may not be easier to use or look prettier, but from a strictly functional standpoint, it can do most anything you'd want. I know that the current version (2.5) came out early in April and I believe 2.6 is due out soon with several additions.

It comes with a 2 week trial so you have nothing to lose.....if others mention a program, I give it a try.....I never know when I might be surprised....

I'm also still looking forward to seeing what StormLab v4.0 has added to it. I know they've been working on a complete redo, just not sure when it will become available...

Gotta run.....just keep an open mind....you might be surprised what else is out there!

Jamie
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06-03-2006, 07:26 AM
Post: #32
What is the best home dopplar radar tool
Jaimie I took your advice and tried Swift. I seem to have the same problem I did last time I tried it. The interface is very confusing. I have tried all the available software out there and this one consistantly confuses me. All I want to do is get an image of Florida and go from there. I am an intelligent person who runs my own business but this software has got my number. I'll try again later with a better attitude and see what happens.
Dave.
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06-03-2006, 09:26 AM
Post: #33
What is the best home dopplar radar tool
To those that worry about the smoothing in GR3:

Mike, the creator of this software, has addressed this issue. He states that the unsmoothed image is the worst reconstruction of reality and that by smoothing, the storm structure is more accurate. You can read his article here: http://www.usawx.com/gibsonridegsmoothing.htm.

Jake
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06-03-2006, 09:46 AM
Post: #34
What is the best home dopplar radar tool
Dave,
To be honest, I had the same problem with SwiftWx (especially during it's earlier versions ... v1.x) so I didn't try it for a long time. I still had some issues, but got through it finally. Now, it's second nature.

Rory, the guy that programmed it has begun some tutorials for new users. He has one for sure....I'll have to see if there are more yet or not. See if this helps.

http://www.grovesinternet.com/software/v...tled4.html

The one thing that's kinda unique to SwiftWx that takes some time to get used to is the dockable windows. All the windows that are along the sides or bottom can be made to slide in or up, they can be made to be stationary windows, or you can turn them off altogether. To get started, all you really need is the Catalog window, the download queue window and the Map Layers window (might be worth having the Watches and Warnings windows as well). You can go under View at the top and unclick all but these. If I remember right, they're all selected when you first install the program.

Now, each of those windows has a push pin looking icon in the top right corner, that essentially pins it open or if you click on it, it will make it so that it slides out of the way unless you put your cursor over the tab for it. If your computer is slow, this takes just a couple seconds....

If you go around to each of those windows and click once on the push pin, they should all slide out of the way. The Map Layers window will go to the right side of the screen, the Watches/Warnings windows will go to the bottom and the Catalog and Download Queue should go to the left side.

The catalog is a list of all the different maps/products you can open. To get you started, try go up to the top of the catalog window and clicking the plus sign next to Regional Radar, the only one currently listed is National Radar. Select that one. This places it into the download queue. You can confirm that by sliding off the catalog tab and going down to the Download Queue tab. You may have already seen the National Radar window open up. The time of the latest radar data is in the tab name next to National Radar. Still in the download queue, you may want to take note that several other "layers" are also downloading....surface observations, convective outlooks, mesoscale discussions, etc.... for now, don't turn them off, let them be.

After the latest data downloads, you should see radar data across the national map. On the top toolbar, look for the one that looks like a plain magnifying glass....this lets you zoom in/out. Select it (if it isn't already) and draw a box around Florida (or whatever part of Florida you're interested in). You can zoom in further by drawing an additional box or just by left clicking on the location that you want in the middle of the window. You can zoom back out by right clicking the area that you want centered in the zoomed out window or at the top on the toolbar, there is an icon that looks like a magnifying glass with an X in it. This zooms to the default zoom level of that radar product/map. Hit that and you're back to the whole U.S. and then you can zoom back in to your part of Florida.

Now to play a little more, you can go up to the Map Layers window and play around with turning different layers on/off. One suggestion, if you're not currently experiencing thunderstorms around your area, you may want to go back out to the national level and zoom in on an area that is. The Storm Attributes layers shows not only storm tracks, but also mesocyclone icons and TVS icons, but hail as well.

I won't go into custom layers or much else right now....really wanted to get you started....hopefully the video will help. I thought the videos were a great idea. He's planning a whole series of them, just not sure where he's at on them. He's been spending a lot of time working on v2.6 I believe.....keep an eye out for that one. Now that I think about it, when you downloaded the trial, you may have seen the initial video.....if you did, please tell me, if not, hopefully you can view it using the link I sent.

Let me know if you have any other problems or get the hang of this and want to do something else. Hope this helps a little....I know what you're going through....frustrated me at first, but once I got the hang of it, it's pretty easy now.

On the same note, I downloaded and installed Nexrad3 at your suggestion. I started to play with it at 11:30pm last night and ran into the same thing you did....interface was kinda confusing....I did like you did and chalked it up to being tired. I'll give it a try again over the weekend sometime.

Jamie
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06-03-2006, 11:28 AM
Post: #35
What is the best home dopplar radar tool
OK, I'll give it another shot.
Check your PM message.
Dave.
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06-04-2006, 10:41 PM
Post: #36
What is the best home dopplar radar tool
Ares Wrote:Mobile Threat Net by baron services...It's by far the most advanced radar system available to the public - no ands, if, or buts about it

You have got to be kidding right?

Threat Net has to be the worst depiction of radar I've ever seen. The only thing that makes it even remotely worth using is the fact that the data comes via satellite.

The reason it sucks as a radar tool is what makes it the only reason you would even buy it. The data comes over satellite and thus is "always on". Because it comes over satellite the quality of the data has to be taken down to "only the basics".

You take a screenshot of Threat Net next to a screen shot of *ANY* other Internet based software package and you'll see my point.

Once true nationwide cell phone coverage (or WiMax/etc) is truely usable Mobile Threat Net will be back to where it shines...places where there are no other options.

Allisonhouse.com - Provider of Low Cost Real Time Weather Data
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06-05-2006, 12:58 PM
Post: #37
What is the best home dopplar radar tool
Ares, thanks for the suggestion but that's too exspensive for me. Does look like a great program for chasing though.
Dave.
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06-23-2006, 06:37 PM
Post: #38
What is the best home dopplar radar tool
I can tell you that there are a number of National Weather Service Employees who have said that GR and AE are incredible programs. Hands down Mike has the best software out there. The new hail algor is amazing on AE.

By the way GR doesn't actually smooth images. Read explanation here:
http://www.usawx.com/gibsonridegsmoothing.htm

One thing about GR is you will not find a better customer service outfit with any of the other radar software programs. I have tried the three main ones mentioned here and I deleted all but GR from my computer. Mike and others are almost always available to help with any problems or issues. Unlike other "radar software" companies Smile Mike won't constantly tell you that the problem is you or your computer. He will tell you upfront if it is a problem with the software or whatever. He will then help you resolve the issue.

Across the board GR is the best.

(I see someone else posted the smoothing information)

I should say that I have not tried Swift - but am about to do so Smile

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06-23-2006, 06:38 PM
Post: #39
What is the best home dopplar radar tool
I use Mobile Threat-Net for chasing and unfortunately the resolution sucks. There is no comparison between MTN and "real" radar. I can't wait to mobile internet becomes more friendly. I will dump MTN immediately!

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06-23-2006, 11:00 PM
Post: #40
What is the best home dopplar radar tool
Just my 2 cents. There are a ton of good radar programs out there. I've tried several and own a couple. It really depends on what you want.

I sounds like GR has very good customer support. On that note, I have both StormLab and SwiftWx. In my opinion, both of them have fantastic support. It is rare that you don't get a response back within a couple hours from either and I've never seen them automatically blame me or my computer, though there have been times when each of those has been the legitimate problem.

I'm currently awaiting the new version of StormLab (v4.0), but it's release date is unclear.

In the meantime, I've spent a LOT of time with SwiftWx. I've really gotten attached to it and Rory (the programmer/company owner) has been great about tech support and in incorporating new ideas into his program. He works a little differently than some of the larger companies. He's pretty much a 1 man operation so he gets out of it what he puts into it.

I tried the program originally back when it was in the v1.x stage and was not impressed with it at all. I pretty much forgot about it and that's when I bought StormLab. I came across SwiftWx again earlier this year with a free 2 week trial and thought I'd give it a try. Initially, the user interface takes a little getting used to, but it's very customizable. Also, Rory has started making some video tutorials to assist new users with setup and learning the features.....really nice touch.

Anyway, it's got some really nice features like GPS tracking (really, the program is currently designed to be a huge help to storm chasers/spotters). You can superimpose your position on the radar if you have a GPS and cell phone internet on your laptop. It's a lot of fun just watching others close in on a storm clear across the country.

It also has a configurable storm perimeter that once activated will sound an alert if a warning is issued that hits your perimeter.

He's put out a teaser for his upcoming v2.6 which will have a storm path feature similar to what the current version of StormLab Pro has. He's also supposed to be adding some new stuff geared toward those in areas that may get hurricanes (or those that just like to track them).

He has a revamped home page that shows tons of screen shots and testimonials. I really do like the program. You can install shapefiles for roads, rivers, cities, etc.... very customizable. In my experience, it's also very accurate. I can see (with the roads on) that it's raining 2 miles from my house but not here at home and sure enough, if I head into town it's been raining there.....

I've tried most of the programs out there and I'm not going to bash any of them. I've liked some, and I've not liked some.....it's really up to the user. I think that if you give SwiftWx some time, and check out the yahoo group to see how others like it and what they're saying, you'll find that it'll do just about anything that you'd like for it to. If it doesn't, make a suggestion...like I said, a lot of the upcoming improvements in v2.6 (due out in the next couple weeks I believe) have been user initiated.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/swiftwx

If you find something else you like better, that's cool too!! Let me know if you have any questions about it....I'd be more than happy to tell you what I can.

Jamie
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