The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison would like your help in improving satellite data. Fortunately for you, this does not require being shot into orbit, nor does it require a space walk.
NOAA and SSEC have just released two new apps for your iOS devices called SatCam and WxSat. With SatCam, you capture observations of sky and ground conditions at the same time that an Earth observation satellite is overhead.
According the app description, “When you capture a SatCam observation and submit it to our server, it helps us to check the quality of the cloud products that we create from the satellite data.” In remote sensing, this is called “ground truth.” Ground-truth data allows researchers to calibrate remote-sensing data, and helps to interpret was has been recorded.
WxSat, meanwhile, will allow you to play amateur weather forecaster. It displays and animates full-resolution, real-time weather satellite data – essentially giving you the images your TV weather reporter points at when announcing the weather news.
The app allows you to see what is happening in the visible spectrum (what you could see with the naked eye), in the infrared spectrum, and also what’s happening with water vapor. A looping animation will show you direction and speed for the last few hours.
Both apps are free to download.
Chandra Clarke is a Webby Honoree-winning blogger, a successful entrepreneur, and an author. Her book Be the Change: Saving the World with Citizen Science is available at Amazon. You can connect with her on Twitter @chandraclarke.