Intellovations, a company that runs the website Forecast Advisor, compares the accuracy of 12 of the largest weather forecasters in the US. Users enter their ZIP code, and the website provides a ranking of the services based on their accuracy over the past month and year. The website has become a useful tool for third-party weather apps that allow users to switch between data sources and select the most accurate one for their location.
The Imperfections of Weather Data
Weather data is never perfect, and there is no single source that can provide complete coverage for every location. Different weather apps use their own algorithms and tools for processing and publishing data. Some apps provide more detailed and poetic descriptions, while others are more brief and factual. Weather apps are designed to show current weather, hourly, daily, and weekly forecasts, and this structure is based on the data provided by Dark Sky, which was acquired by Apple in 2020.
The Challenge of Integrating Multiple Sources
With Dark Sky gone and WeatherKit unreliable, many weather apps have started integrating with multiple sources to ensure they are always online and offer the most accurate forecasts. However, presenting users with a digestible full-featured forecast is a tough UI challenge, especially when dealing with multiple sources. Combining data from different sources is expensive and legally prohibited by the data providers’ terms.
The Competitive Edge of Weather Apps
Weather apps have to strike a balance between providing a quick, one-screen experience and offering in-depth knowledge that no built-in app can match. Developers are continually finding ways to improve their apps and be better at telling users the weather. To stay ahead, they are thinking about what weather apps might look like on Apple’s long-rumored headset and anticipating the new features they will have to adopt when the next version of iOS is announced. The real competitive edge is being better at telling users the weather and providing them with more data, more data sources, and more tools to be their own meteorologist.
In conclusion, there is no perfect weather app for everybody, but with the integration of multiple sources and the use of more accurate data, developers are working hard to ensure that users get the most accurate forecast possible.