New weather app to add four dimensions to forecasting
As a trained meteorologist, Jane Bunn is one of Australia’s most-qualified television weather presenters and there is one question she’s asked repeatedly, particularly when speaking at community events.
“At the end during the Q&As, I am often asked what app I used to look at the weather,” said Jane.
“And I would say, ‘Well I don’t because I look at the underlying data and then analyse that to come up with the forecast’.”
With repeated requests for recommendations and no solution to provide – Jane's idea was born.
The result is Jane’s Weather, an app sourcing information from four weather models that update several times a day into a user-friendly yet customisable format to remove the guesswork from weather-dependent operations.
Jane said depth of data collection makes it ideal for the agriculture industry.
“Quite often farmers will have apps they look at and find one was right one time, another is alright when it comes to rain, and so on,” she said.
“What we’re doing is bringing the best data under one umbrella and letting you see them side by side so you can identify if a particular model is going off on a very weird tangent and can say, ‘let’s not trust that’ because that model is clearly having a bad day.”
The app’s algorithm, developed by data scientists from the University of Melbourne, takes into account a range of weather factors, including temperature, cloud cover, wind and Delta T and overlays it with other data including location and historical records, to create a precise and personalised forecast based on what the user wants to know.
“If you need to spray in the next week, we’ll let you know which hours are likely to be good for spraying,” she said.
Jane said the information could be equally valuable for other industries, including construction, event management, aviation, mining and logistics.
“The alert service is up and running and it makes sure that anything you need to know about, you are alerted to,” she explained.
“For example, when there is an activity where you need to know if there are wind gusts over 60 kilometres per hour, we can let you know hours over the next week in which that will be a concern.
“The biggest issue with the other apps is they have only one of those underlying models driving the weather forecast. You don’t know if that model is on the right track as you have nothing to compare it with – you’re just trusting that one thing.”
Jane and her team have three of the four main global models incorporated into the app and are seeking equity investment of up to $750 000 from angel, corporate and institutional investors to fund access to the fourth model and its rich data.
The AgriFutures growAG. platform has been helping Jane’s Weather connect with potential investors and has already received a number of inquiries since being listed.
“We are in discussions with three different organisations which have come through growAG.,” said Jane.
“We are seeking investors for what I think is going to be a game-changer for weather forecasting.
We’ve made great connections through growAG.. You’d be silly not to want to come on this platform.”
With 350 paying users and 1,400 on the free subscription, Jane’s Weather is still growing but the TV meteorologist behind it knows all too well the weather is something everyone is interested in.
“Australia is step one and then we can go global,” said Jane.
“We are thinking New Zealand will be next and then the USA and Europe because weather data is in global demand, and we can fine tune it for all the conditions across the world.”