New UNL Climate App Offers Key Maps, Data from Your Smartphone

New UNL Climate App Offers Key Maps, Data from Your Smartphone

June 14, 2013

HPRCC logo

  
  The Climate App

Name of Web App: Climate App
Developer: High Plains Regional Climate Center, University of Nebraska–Lincoln School of Natural Resources
Access: hprcc3.unl.edu/Ap
Cost: Free

Intended Audience: Producers, agronomists, consultants

Purpose of App: To serve as a decision-aid tool for agricultural producers, this app provides showing recent highs, lows, and soil temperatures. It is intended to keep agricultural producers aware of the temperature ranges that could affect production timelines.

Description:  The maps available through this app can help inform a producer's decision-making, said Ken Hubbard, app developer and regional research climatologist with the High Plains Regional Climate Center.

"We already had maps online," said Hubbard, "but we realized that producers don't really have time to go hunting on their computers for information. So the hope is that the app will go with them on their phones and make their jobs easier."

The Climate App's homepage currently offers several options, with more expected this summer:

  • Corn Water Use (inches) Yesterday
  • 1-day Precipitation Total
  • Maximum Temperature (F) Yesterday
  • Minimum Temperature (F) Yesterday
  • 7-day Average Soil Temperature at 4 inches
  • 1-day Soil Temperature at 4 inches

Each option links to a map with a scalable color scale that indicates the corresponding local information.

Initially, the maps offered were related to planting season. In the coming months, the app will progress to showcase precipitation information and corn water use for the previous day. The intention is that this information would help farmers know whether to irrigate.

Sixty-seven weather stations report data to the HPRCC. Using this data, Hubbard and the team at HPRCC create maps that showcase the variations in temperature at a local level.

The Climate App is the latest development in the HPRCC's mission to provide useful information to help producers make decisions regarding their production timelines and procedures. The app automatically imports data from the HPRCC's established system.

"The main challenge we faced in developing the app was getting the right people with the right knowledge together," said Hubbard.

For this reason, the HPRCC partnered with representatives from other groups, including UNL's Information Services, UNL's Agronomy and Horticulture department, and financial sponsors at Kansas State University. Additionally, UNL Extension provided invaluable iterative feedback as the team developed prototype apps.

"The developers are on the research side," said Hubbard, "but the extension educators are the ones who talk to people who use the app. They've been providing information about how the app actually gets used."

Those interested in the app simply use the phone's browser and enter the url as hprcc3.unl.edu/Ap. There is no cost for the app. Ken Hubbard and the app development team welcome feedback. Contact Hubbard at khubbard1@unl.edu.