Uulan ba? There’s an app for that

Jett Angeles, Voyager senior manager, presenting the RainCheckPh app to media at the Jump Experience Center in SM Megamall on December 17, 2013. Photo credit: Allan M. Gomez

MANILA, Philippines — A smart phone application providing rain probability alerts down to the city level has been launched by a unit of Smart Communications, Inc.

Developed by Voyager Communications, Inc., RaincheckPH uses data from the Department of Science and Technology’s Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) to predict with a reported 95 percent accuracy rain probability down to the city level.

The app is initially available for Android phones but an iOS version is set to be released next year.

Dr. Mahar Lagmay, executive director of NOAH, said that RaincheckPH presents their data in easily digestible bite-sized pieces.

“This addresses the concern that NOAH is too complicated. This is NOAH made easy,” Lagmay said at the press launch at the Smart Jump Center in Megamall.

The five-megabyte application, which covers 70 cities around the country, sends pop-up notifications whenever rain probability in a user’s current location reaches 50 percent in the next four hours. Users can also get real-time data on temperature and wind speeds as well as a four-day weather forecast. Weather information can also be easily shared on Facebook and Twitter.

“With the RaincheckPH app, Filipinos can receive timely and accurate information about rain and other hazards within their vicinity so they can always be prepared,” Lagmay said.

“Equipping Filipinos with the proper tools and mindset to prepare for natural disasters has always been the main goal of Project NOAH from the start — and this new and innovative mobile app helps in achieving that,” Lagmay added.

Voyager is also working with InterAksyon.com to integrate in the application up-to-the-minute information on class and work suspensions per area. In addition, they also plan to build a crowdsourcing facility within the app that will enable users to report and view flooded areas.

“We are thinking of this as a platform to engage communities,” Benjie Fernandez, Voyager COO, said.

Launched in 2011 after the devastation of Typhoon Sendong in Mindanao, Project Noah operates more than 700 sensors that gather weather information around the country.

InterAksyon.com, the online news portal of TV5, and Smart Communications, Inc. are owned and operated by the PLDT Group.

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