Monday, February 4, 2013

Got Precip? There's An App for That!

There are two smartphone apps that CoCoRaHS observers will be interested in.

The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) in Norman, Oklahoma has a research project underway to collect precipitation type information to help improve weather radar technology

It's called the Precipitation Identification Near the Ground (PING) project, and like CoCoRaHS it relies on volunteers - anyone with an interest in the weather, to watch and report on precipitation. Unlike CoCoRaHS, volunteers do not measure precipitation, but rather report on the type of precipitation that is falling .The basic idea is simple: NSSL will collect radar data from NEXRAD radars during storm events, and compare that data with observations submitted by PING volunteers.

Weather radar cannot see close to the ground, so "ground truth" from observers lets the researchers know what kind of precipitation is falling. Researchers will compare submitted reports with what the radar has detected, and develop new radar technologies and techniques to determine what kind of precipitation—such as snow, soft hail, hard hail, or rain—is falling where.

You do not have to sign up for this. To submit an observation go to the PING web site and select the type of precipitation you want to report. You will need to enter your location and the time you observed the precipitation. If you don't know your lat/lon, there is a link to a neat web page that calculates it from your address.

For those on the go, the PING project recently released a mobile version, mPING, for the iPhone and Android. The app uses your phone's GPS to identify your location, and you just enter the precipitation type. The app can be downloaded free from the AppStore and Google Play.

PING also has available an interactive data display which can be animated.

One of the most frequent requests from CoCoRaHS observers is a mobile app for smartphones. If you have looked through CoCoRaHS comments you may have noticed a comment "Submitted via CoCoRaHS Observer for Android version 1.0.8".  One of our CoCoRaHS observers in South Carolina has developed a CoCoRaHS app called CoCoRaHS Observer for Android, first released last June.  This application that lets registered CoCoRaHS volunteers submit their daily precipitation reports via their Android mobile device. In addition, users can view and edit past reports. He has been updating the app, with the latest version released on January 28th. It's available through Google Play and the developer's web site,  At the present time there is no CoCoRaHS app for the iPhone.


  1. So happy to have found the CoCORaHS app! This makes data entry so much more convenient for me. Now I will reliably enter in my zeros for non-precip days. :-)

  2. Spotty, that's what we like to hear!

  3. Is there an iOS app in the works? I'm getting back into precipitation measuring after a three year hiatus due to health issues. Thanks for any information.

  4. I believe there is an IOS app in the works, but it is not yet available.

  5. just found the 'cocorahs observer' in the apple app store.

  6. Yes, it's been available for some time now. This post was written in 2013 (time flies when you're having fun!)

  7. I'm not able to edit my entry from the mobile app - or supply a second report (flooding)

    1. Bryna, the mobile app currently does not have an editing function, so you have to go to the web site for that. For flooding info, there is a link just above the optional notes section to enter that.