Before your next road trip, make sure to download the Weather on Wheels app, now available for iPhone and Android devices. This app displays weather forecasts along your entire route.
More than 600 people have tested the Web app created by the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and several hundred more have downloaded the Android app, which first became available for download in December 2014 to improve driving safety during holiday travel. The leading demographic for the app so far is ages 25-34, representing about 33 percent of the user base, but drivers of all ages and in most states have tested the app.
Weather on Wheels makes it easy and fun to check out weather predictions before travelers hit the road. To begin your route, enter a starting location, destination, and start time and Weather on Wheels will display weather forecasts along your entire route. If there is a bad storm predicted on your route, the app will let you know if the weather conditions improve by changing your start time and/or route. Starting times may be adjusted to find the best possible conditions for your trip.
Weather on Wheels was developed by students with the assistance of faculty and staff at the Conrad Blucher Institute (CBI) and the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center, both at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Students in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Computer Science programs worked together with business and graphic arts students from the Innovation Center. The students worked directly in all phases of the app’s development, including research, technical application, branding and marketing.
The app aims to make long road trips safer for everyone. Storms, snow, icy roads, heavy rain, dense fog, and severe crosswinds can make for extremely hazardous road conditions. These weather events cause more than 1 million crashes every year resulting in about 6,000 fatalities and 500,000 injuries, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Weather on Wheels combines forecasts from the U.S. National Weather Service and route information from Google. The concept of Weather on Wheels is based on prior work at the CBI which included the “Texas Coastal Winds” app and the app “Transit Time,” which was created to plan vessel transit through the Houston/Galveston Ship Channel.
As compared to other available tools, the app is solely focused on the predicted weather along potential routes and should make it easier to plan drives around bad weather.
A&M-Corpus Christi is actively working to bring its innovations to the public and the markets. Its Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center, part of the College of Business, is a hub that has already been highly successful at guiding entrepreneurs and projects of all sizes. The development of this app is one of the first projects originating at A&M-Corpus Christi and is hopefully the first of many, allowing students and researchers to collaborate on enterprises that combine technological innovations with the business aspect of bringing such projects to market.
The technical team is headed by CBI Associate Director Dr. Philippe Tissot and includes CBI researcher Scott Duff and past and present undergraduate research assistants Julien Clifford, Darius Stephen, Bradley Koskowich, Carly Stanton and Andrew Frost. The Innovation Center team includes Incubator Manager David Fonseca, Program Coordinator Chau Hoang, and past and present Research Assistants Steven Tran, Selvy Letlora, Laura Pulgarin, Alyssa Garza and Tina Lentz.
About Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi: Offering more than 80 of the most popular degree programs in the state, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has proudly provided a solid academic reputation, renowned faculty, and highly rated degree programs since 1947. The Island University has earned its spot as the premier, urban doctoral-granting institution in South Texas, supporting a UAS test site, two institutes and more than 20 research centers and labs. Discover your island at www.tamucc.edu.
About the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science: The Conrad Blucher Institute (CBI) conducts innovative research and encourages scientists, professional engineers, and surveyors to develop accurate scientific spatial measurements; and apply technology solutions relevant to the geospatial sciences and issues associated with the Gulf of Mexico region. The CBI is home to the largest endowed Geographic Information Science (GISc) program in the United States.