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Stay Up To Date On The Weather With The Crowdsourced Minutely

August 6, 2013

Minutely (Free) by Ourcast, Inc. is a weather app that combines the traditional weather data with crowdsourced info. The results end up being much more accurate.

I know, we’ve covered a lot of weather apps in the past. They all bring something cool to the table, but there was always one problem: accuracy. If you compare most of them to the stock on your iPhone, then you may or may not see slight differences in temperatures. I have done this many times with my weather apps in the past, and as much as I like the apps, I just can’t completely trust the data sometimes. Fortunately, Minutely is here to hopefully change that. It gives users the ability to correct the current weather conditions shown in the app if it is not correct in a game-like fashion.

With Minutely, you will need to register for an account, or simplify the signup process with Facebook or Twitter logins. Once you are signed in, Minutely will ask for your current location. You don’t have to give the app access, but it does make things a lot easier. Minutely will display your current city on the screen, along with comprehensive data. You can also use the app without registering with the “Register Later” option.

On the default view, you will see a large display of the current weather conditions smack dab in the middle of the screen. To the left of this will be the current temperature, along with the high and low for the day. To the right will be the highs and lows for the next two days. Prefer a 7-day forecast? Just tap on the “View More” button, and it will be revealed in a tray underneath, complete with beautifully animated condition icons to go along with highs and lows. Tapping anywhere with this displayed will hide it.

Underneath the current weather conditions is a graph that displays the a line graph of what the temperature will be for the next 24 hours. This reminds me of what Solar can do, except without the whole dragging your finger all over the screen bit. This graph view provides much more data at-a-glance, and makes planning out your day a lot easier. You can also tap on it to reveal a two hour rain forecast, which definitely comes in handy.

Now, the thing with Minutely is the fact that you can change the current conditions if the traditional data is inaccurate. To do this, just tap on the large, animated icon in the center. This brings up the “Report Current Weather” popover, which provides nine options: Sunny, Mostly Sunny, Overcast, Drizzle, Light Rain, Heavy Rain, Storms, Light Snow, and Heavy Snow. Any changes will be immediately reflected on the main screen.

While these nine should cover the basics, there are more options available if you go to the full Report screen (you can also access this by swiping to the right), which include: Cloudy, Fog, and Hazy. This is also where you would go to if you want to write a message to go along with your report, as well as an image. Your complete report can be shared via Facebook or Twitter, if you so choose.

Minutely reminds me of Weathermob, which I checked out back in 2011. However, the difference with Minutely and Weathermob seems to be the fact that Minutely just focuses on crowdsourcing data, and it’s not really a micro social network like Weathermob.

The other screen, accessed by swiping left, will be the Map. This will show your current position, along with the current condition displayed as a marker on your dot. If there are any nearby weather stations available, they will be shown on the map as well. You can drag the bar at the bottom to see if the weather will change in the next 24 hours. My only problem with the map view is that it does not look Retina-optimized — text and icons appear a bit fuzzy on my iPhone 5. I hope to see this improved in the future.

Remember when I said that Minutely gamifies the weather? You get points for each time you report, and once you reach a certain amount of points, you will “rank up.” The ranks will determine your place on the leaderboards. This gaming aspect is nice and keeps things fresh and interesting, and definitely reminds me of Foursquare. You can see your total points from your profile, which is accessed with the “hamburger” button. From here, you can also change the units used (Celsius or Fahrenheit), and view the data sources Minutely uses.

I like the interface of Minutely, as it makes it easy to view the weather at-a-glance and change it accordingly. However, the app seems a bit choppy and unresponsive at times, especially when trying to switch between screens quickly. I hope that the developers optimize the performance in the future.

I still recommend checking out Minutely, though, as it’s a weather app that gets better with more users. It’s completely free to try out as well, so you’ve nothing to lose.

Get Minutely in the App Store for your iPhone for free.

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