Version Reviewed: 1.5.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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Developers have a knack for turning apps that probably shouldn’t be social into social apps. When I noticed that Ourcast had some strong social features, I was ready to dismiss them as junk features. But its social features quickly grew on me. Ourcast is social weather done right.
On the main screen, it displays the current weather (designated by a symbol, like a sun and cloud), the temperature, and the current dBz (measure of the amount of rainfall). It also displays dBz for every ten minutes in the more detailed forecast below.
The most interesting part of this app is the social feature. Before trying it, I highly doubted that I would find a social weather app particularly useful or interesting. But “checking in” is fairly simple and it’s cool to see other user’s updates (even if the only ones I can currently see in my local area are automated and probably news stations).
Users check in with a status and an icon displaying the type of weather they’re having. There are more icons than strictly necessary (10-15 icons each for categories no rain, light rain, heavy rain, and snow). For example, there’s an icon in the “no rain” category for good gardening weather.
The check-ins can be shared via Facebook or Twitter, but they don’t HAVE to be (which is exactly how most check-in apps should work). Users can simply make a check-in that will only be displayed to other local users of the app. I have no interest in telling my Twitter followers or Facebook friends what the weather is like in my area. But I wouldn’t mind telling local people that are actually looking in a weather app what it looks like outside. And if there’s a particularly powerful storm, I probably would share with my Facebook friends. So I’m glad the option is there but not mandatory for checking in.
In the map view, in addition to the radar, icons from other user’s check-ins are displayed. While there weren’t many check-ins displayed in my local area, I can imagine how useful this app would be if there were more users in my area. I could basically crowd source the weather by looking at the check-ins from people around me. Note: the New Jersey/New York area is a great example of how easy crowd sourcing weather can be (a few dozen local users in regional area is all it takes).
Ourcast is the kind of app that will only get better as more people adopt it. But more users aren’t necessary for it to be a good app. Ourcast is a great weather app as it stands and it’s absolutely free. So grab the app and start making weather check-ins.