The World Meteorological Organization has announced the winners of a new Weather Apps Awards competition and its annual Calendar competition at a ceremony highlighting the cutting edge of science and technology and the power and beauty of nature.
The Weather Apps Awards Competition recognizes excellence in ever-improving mobile-based applications, which have become the most widespread way for the public to access and use weather information.
Hundreds of weather apps are now available, with global, regional or local coverage. They are developed by both the private sector and public agencies like National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS). The majority of the apps are for general weather information, but there are also specialized ones for specific uses such as sports, agriculture, tourism etc.
“Weather apps do more than just tell users what is set to happen – they can be vital decision-making tools in critical situations. This means that app development is a crucial link in the weather and climate service delivery chain. However, the huge variety of functionality, quality and usefulness of these mobile apps presents challenges to both users and information providers,” said Gerald Fleming, chair of the WMO jury. “Public trust and public safety are at stake.”
“Weather forecasting has been a field of intensive innovation for centuries. Ever since its establishment in 1950, WMO has sought to stimulate this innovation and to promote best practices and knowledge transfer. In this spirit, the Weather Apps Awards underscore the importance of sharing this know-how and innovation for the benefit of society,” said Mr Fleming, formerly with Met Eireann (Ireland) and a long-time contributor to WMO public weather service activities.
The 13-member international jury, with expertise in various fields including weather and climate, IT, communication and social science, recognized 18 Winners and 14 Honorable Mentions in three categories.
- Group 1 - Innovation and promotion of the use of weather and climate information for development.
- Group 2 - Specialized apps award category.
- Group 3 - Public weather forecasts and information (general category).
The competition was launched in August 2020 and received 118 entries from all over the world. The submissions were well balanced between the public sector (38%), private sector (41 %), and others (21 %), including universities, research institutions and private weather enthusiasts.
The WMO International Weather Apps Awards has the following objectives:
- The competition will stimulate app development worldwide, helping to identify and establish high standards for weather apps, and will promote good practices and innovation.
- With a special focus on developing countries and providing access to high quality information to vulnerable communities, it will encourage and assist apps development for/by NMHSs including through collaborative partnerships with the private sector and/or academia.
- It will stimulate public-private-academic collaboration and innovation in improving services to people and businesses.