Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Forecast Lists, Concurrent Pre-Processing and Mailing List

We have updated the SARWeather production servers again. Most of the changes are under the hood and not visible to users, but allowed us to implement concurrent pre-processing and other such improvements in the future.

But let's look at the changes in more detail!

Improved Previous Forecasts List

The most obvious change is the new presentation of previous forecasts. Each forecast is shown as a card with a preview map of the area covered by the forecast. 

Each forecast is colour-coded according to validity period. Green forecasts show the weather at the current time, and a period around it. Blue forecasts show a period which hasn't started yet, and grey forecasts have passed.

In addition, icons indicate whether a forecast is still being generated or can now be updated with new data.

New Mailing List

There is a good chance that you already know about our new mailing list and that you came to this blog posting from the notification we sent there. All users have been migrated form the old ad-hoc list to one maintained by Mailchimp, and new users are automatically offered to subscribe to this list. You can now un-subscribe at any time, but of course we hope it doesn't come to that.

If you want to sign up to the list, either create a SARWeather account or follow this link.

Concurrent Pre-Processing

The pre-processing which is needed before the weather model can be launched has now been broken into smaller sub-tasks and distributed to the cluster of worker nodes. This allows us to bring pre-processing times down to around 1 minute, which is the time it takes to launch the virtual machine running the weather model. This should have a significant impact on how soon the first frames of the forecast can be ready for forecasts covering a large area or spanning a long period.

Upcoming Changes

In our next update we plan to simplify the pricing model and the payment process. Users should be able to pay for single forecasts and not have to worry about credits and balances unless they choose.

There will also be some technical fixes and a number of usability improvements.

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