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Stormpulse Maps Pro: the oil spill & more

Since we launched Stormpulse Pro last November, we’ve received a steady flow of requests for these premium features to become available on our affiliate/Stormpulse API maps.  In response to this demand, we’ve launched Stormpulse Maps Pro. (NOTE: If you’ve already got a Stormpulse account (free or Pro), you’ll need to sign out of that account before you can sign up for Stormpulse Maps).

These premium maps accounts take our free maps to the next level by offering:

  • New! Gulf oil spill. Engage your visitors with the only interactive weather maps on the web with detailed plotting of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site and 24-hour forecast from the NOAA updated daily.  You can check out this feature on our maps at Stormpulse.com.
Deepwater Horizon site & Gulf oil spill

Deepwater Horizon site & Gulf oil spill

  • No upsells or advertising. To help ensure your audience stays on your site, ads and upgrade links are never displayed on a premium affiliate map.
  • Super-resolution radar loops. Bright colors and fine-grained details draw your visitor’s attention to the most important features of each storm. Powered by “Level 2″ data from the National Weather Service, this is the highest resolution radar available on the web.
  • Tropical watches and warnings. Inform your audience of the threat to coastal areas as the storm approaches land.

As with our free maps, you can also toggle layers and add customer markers using the Stormpulse Maps JavaScript API, which we’ve designed to be familiar to anyone with Google Maps experience.

Keep the requests coming …

New Stormpulse customer survey

(Not to be confused with the survey we were doing for Stormpulse Advanced, which is now closed).

Take it here.  Just 7 questions and very quick, depending on how much you want to write.  Please?

Survey Marker by blmurch (flickr)

Survey Marker by blmurch (flickr)

The 2008 hurricane season comes to a close

This past Monday marked the end of the 2008 hurricane season, and with it, the end of our first big year at Stormpulse.com.

The season ended with a total of 17 tropical depressions, 16 of which became named tropical storms, 8 of which became hurricanes, 5 of which became major (category 3 or higher) hurricanes. This made 2008 the third costliest season on record (behind 2005 and 2004), and the fourth busiest since 1944.

Hurricane Ike, Galveston (Coast Guard Photo)

Hurricane Ike was the most eventful by far, landing on Galveston as ‘only’ a category 2 but nevertheless leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Gustav threatened to be worse than Katrina, but fortunately New Orleans was spared the worst and the levees held. At one point, four active storms dotted the Atlantic: Gustav, Hanna, Ike, and Josephine. And in a late-season emergence, Hurricane Paloma strengthened to a category 4 before making landfall in Cuba as a category 3 (amazingly, only 1 person lost their life as a result).

All of that activity added up to a season to remember, and a lot of visits to our site, with a lot of wonderful support, both financially (through our tip jar and Donate Now button) and verbally, as word of the site spread faster and faster. How fast was it? Well, take this example, sent to us on September 8th:

We were docked in Andros, Bahamas, waiting for Hanna to pass. The local weather, via satellite and Internet was so into Gustav that Ike was just another storm to be recconed with later. Everyone on the dock was very concerned about Ike. One of the boaters suggested we look at your site. We were able to make a decision from looking at all of the information, that was to “get outta town!”.And we did. Arrived in South Florida yesterday, feeling much safer. Thanks so much.

While this report came to us a full seven weeks after beginning our API program, we were still stunned to hear proof of the word of mouth that was transpiring. How that boater in Andros knew about our site, I have no idea. There was a time when I used to feel like I knew the core group that used Stormpulse; while that core group still does, that time is over. That core group has exploded, and the site has taken on a life of its own: it’s now owned just as much by its users as by yours truly.

Where will it go from here? Brad is in town as I write this, and for the next couple of weeks we are going to put our thoughts together and attempt to organize, filter, and boil down all of the great feedback we received this year, as well as new opportunities that have presented themselves that we’d like to attack before the 2009 season rolls around. It’s still a bit fuzzy, but it’s quickly taking shape; as soon as we have something concrete, I’ll post it here.

I’d like to also thank all of you for your wonderful support; whether you donated your visits, your time, your pennies, or your dollars, we thank you.

A few more highlights:

  • Stormpulse was blogged about on Yahoo! Tech, TechCrunch, and mentioned by Tim O’Reilly during his Web2.0 Expo speech in NY on September 18th.
  • Visitors came from 214 countries during the 2008 hurricane season. The United States, Canada, and the Dominican Republic were the top three.
  • Direct visits accounted for approximately 70% of all web traffic to Stormpulse.com this season.
  • Stormpulse.com is the #2 result on Google for ‘hurricane tracking‘, just behind the National Hurricane Center, and is the #1 result for ‘storm tracker‘ or ‘storm tracking‘.

Where’s Tropical Storm Alma?

A click in the Stormpulse tracking map window on Discus Buoy 42057 reveals that the southwestern Caribbean is experiencing gusts of roughly 31 mph from the ESE. So why doesn’t Tropical Storm Alma show up on the map? Well, Alma is technically a Pacific basin storm, and we do not currently cover this basin. We apologize for any confusion, and would like to add that Pacific coverage is something we are continuing to consider.

Jamaica in Hurricane Dean’s crosshairs

This based on the latest forecast advisory (5:00pm Friday): Hurricane Dean - Jamaica, Category 4

Hurricane Dean, meet Hurricane Dennis (1981)

Brad was checking out some “Similar Storms” data on Hurricane Dean and found a fun comparison to Hurricane Dennis from the 1981 storm season.

As a resident of South Florida, all I can say is: very . . . funny.  :-)

New Caribbean additions just in time for Hurricane Dean

We’ve added a few new cities to the map:

  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • Cozumel, Mexico
  • Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Havana, Cuba
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico

To see what this does for you, load up the site and click ‘Kingston’.  You’ll get a handy pop-up with a breakdown of wind probabilities over the next 5 days.  And no, it doesn’t really look good.

WeatherTalkRadio interview to announce our ‘secret’ hurricane-tracking feature release

Brad and I will be on the radio with meteorologists Tony Pann and Justin Berk this Sunday on WeatherTalkRadio, a show that airs from Baltimore, Maryland from 3:05pm-4:00pm ET.

WeatherTalkRadio

It can be heard in their coverage area (Baltimore) on AM 680 WCBM, or online, and later as a podcast.

We are looking forward to using this opportunity to announce our “top secret” feature with you, and are looking forward to your feedback (we have a feeling it will be mildly controversial). We’ll have a simultaneous blog post describing the idea in more detail (and, if there’s an active storm out there, the ability to try it out).

Join us for a fun time of geeking out over all things weather (and especially the tropics)!

WeatherTalk

Sunday, June 3rd, at 3:30pm EDT, we are scheduled to have a conversation with Justin Berk and Tony Pann on WeatherTalk about why and how we made the site, and what the site hopefully will and can do for you.

WeatherTalk

If you’re in the Baltimore area you can tune in to WCBM. If you’re not, you can visit their website to stream the show live or download a podcast afterwards.

On the air: follow-up

A quick update: our interview with Charlie Wilson of Internet Partnership Radio has been postponed. It will air during his Tuesday night program, “Center of Circulation”, which begins at 8:00pm EDT.

UPDATE:  IPR was still having difficulties with their servers on Tuesday night.  If all goes well, the segment will air during the first show of hurricane season–next Tuesday (June 5th) at 8:00pm EDT.

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