02.05.2016

The Making of: How Vaavud Labs is Developing Personalised Apps

The Making of: How Vaavud Labs is Developing Personalised Apps

If you’re connected with us on Facebook, you’ve heard about some big changes that are on the way. In this post we’re going to break down why we’re doing it, and what it means for you! Also included are some details about the development process for the tech and weather geeks in our community.

More apps, less one-size-fits-all.

Within the coming months, Vaavud Labs will be rolling out a new series of apps tailored to our users’ varied interests and activities. Whether you’re a kitesurfer, a windsurfer, a sailor, or a drone pilot, being able to measure wind speed and direction is crucial, but we know that these activities also have their own unique challenges.

We thought it would be great if the app also took into account what you are using it for. With in-depth forecasting and new features suited to your activity, our goal is to make apps that tell you simply whether today, or tomorrow, or any day, is a good day to get your gear out.

If you’re a sailor, you can look forward to measuring true and apparent wind speed and direction, so that the data is accurate when you’re on the move. For our kite and windsurfers, we’re including kite and sail size recommendations based on weather conditions. Features to make flying easier and safer for drone pilots are also on the way, such as wind variation predictions at different altitudes. We’re also working on more in-depth forecasting features across activities.

Closest on the horizon is a Vaavud sailing app, and the specialized kitesurfing, windsurfing, and drone apps are coming soon. We want to build these apps with you! To stay updated or become a test pilot for the pre-launch versions, sign up by following the link on your activity of choice above.

Achieving hassle-free updates.

At Vaavud, we’re obsessed with precision. We strive for it with our Sleipnir and Mjolnir wind meters, and now we want to apply that accuracy to the new apps we are launching soon.

An important part of making high-resolution weather apps is being able to update and improve them easily. Our web and mobile development team are working together using React Native to build these new apps for iPhone and Android devices. By using CodePush for React Native, the team can give users live software updates. In other words, we can do the work of fixing bugs and making improvements without you having to update via the App Store. This means you always have the latest version running when you’re ready to get out and use the app.

Taking forecasting to the next level.

Looking to the future, we’re also working hard to revamp our forecasting system so that it is more accurate than ever. According to Kasper (our in-house meteorologist), using our own weather model and integrating the measurements that our users capture is the way forward.

Right now, the Vaavud app uses the Forecast.io API to provide weather data. This Global Forecast System has data points placed every 28 kilometers. At Vaavud Labs, we’re working on a model with data points every 9 kilometers throughout Europe and every 3 km in Denmark, Vaavud’s home country. The ultimate goal will be to expand this high precision system, but until then Forecast.io would continue to provide data for the world outside Europe.

The data our users are collecting every day with their wind meters is also an important part of these improvements we have coming. If we can use wind readings to correct forecasts, we can provide better predictions for everyone. The more readings we have, the better the forecast. In this way, users can help each other get the most out of their day simply by using their Vaavud wind meter.

Before putting this into action, we’re working on a method for validating wind readings. Without a verification system, a reading taken next to a household fan could make it into the forecast, and this benefits nobody!

Our weather model should be rolling out in Denmark within the next few months, and then we’ll set our sights on Europe and beyond.

What next?

These are busy times at Vaavud. We’re excited to get these apps into your hands, and to show you what we’ve been working on. What these changes and developments really come down to are the two things that matter most to us: evolving according to our users’ needs, and generating highly precise weather data.

We want to hear what you think! Keep in touch with us via hello@vaavud.com, or click the share button below for your social media platform of choice.