Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dark Sky can use iPhone 6 sensors to improve weather forecasts

We've talked about the vast trove of data that could be gathered using our smartphones. And now, Dark Sky is one more app to put that to use, by using the iPhone 6 barometric sensors in order to improve its weather forecasts.

If you've never heard about Dark Sky before, suffice to say it's one of the most popular and well designed weather apps for iOS (sadly, they inexplicably don't have the app available in other countries). The app allows users to contribute reports of the weather at their own locations, but with the latest update it's also able to use the iPhone 6 air pressure sensor for increased accuracy.

Sure, you'll have to allow it to use your iPhone for data gathering first, and you can always stop doing it at any time.

Though this isn't the first app to use our smartphones as remote data gathering station, it's one of the most popular, which means it can quickly gain access to a considerable amount of "sensors" around the country, particularly of interest in areas where you can't get that data from other sources. In fact, I think the next step would be to provide this sort of data gathering in a "public way" instead of an app-by-app basis.

Just like Apple can already share data for health studies (if users allow it), why not add a system wide option for our smartphones to be used as remote sensors to gather data like temperature, air pressure, noise levels, etc. in an anonymous way, that could be accessed by the scientific community? I sure wouldn't mind contributing...

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