This review guide will show you all there is to know about Sonuby Weather, how features are used (including screencasts), which settings the app offers and anything else you need to know when publishing about Sonuby.
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The app was developed by me, Julian Meier. I'm a self employed Software Engineer who discovered his passion for weather forecasting during his dual studies at Swiss weather service provider meteoblue AG.
Sonuby's user interface consists of a simple tab-based material design and is thematically divided into Home (Forecast Area), Location Collections, Weather Reports and Settings.
The Location Collections tab allows you to view and manage existing location collections and add new ones.
The Weather Reports tab provides an overview of the available weather reports. Weather reports can be enabled or disabled here.
The Settings tab allows you to configure the units used in the application and other settings. It also provides a legend of the pictograms used in the application and the ability to provide feedback on the application.
Pre-Built Weather Reports
Weather forecasts are used in a wide variety of fields, and the needs for weather forecasts could not be more different. While skydivers are mainly interested in altitude forecasts for wind, clouds and temperature, surfers depend on good wave and tide forecasts.
To combine different needs in one application, Sonuby offers three pre-built weather reports (more to come):
Each of these weather reports contains only the forecasts that are relevant for the specific area of interest. This simplifies the planning of skydiving and surfing sessions, as well as everyday activities such as commuting by bike or planning a vacation.
Report mode is great for checking full weather reports and comparing them between locations of a location collection.
Scrolling through weather modules in Report Mode and comparing locations in location collection.
Sonuby offers two display modes for weather forecasts: report mode and comparison mode.
When Sonuby is opened for the first time, report mode is preset.
Report mode shows all forecasts that are part of the selected weather report for the selected location. It is ideal for getting a quick overview of all weather conditions. By scrolling vertically, all forecasts (weather modules) of the weather report can be viewed. Horizontal scrolling allows quick switching between the locations of the selected location collection and, if enabled, the user's current location. Synchronizing the scroll position also allows you to compare forecasts in this mode.
Below the location search field are buttons to change the currently selected location collection (by default, favorites) and the selected weather report.
The advantages of the report mode at a glance:
Full weather report for the selected location
Vertical scrolling allows quick access to all relevant forecasts (weather modules)
Horizontal scrolling allows to compare forecasts of different locations of a location collection
The comparison mode is great for comparing individual forecasts.
Scrolling through individual weather modules in Comparison Mode and comparing surf spots.
Unlike report mode, which displays the entire weather report for the selected location, comparison mode displays individual weather modules for all locations in a location collection and, if enabled, for the user's current location.
Comparison Mode can be activated via the bidirectional arrow button in the upper right corner of the forecast area (tapping the button again will activate report mode).
Here is an example of how comparison mode can be helpful:
A surfer wants to find out which of his favorite surf spots will have the best conditions for his next surf session. He has already created a location collection called "Surfspots" and saved all the surfspots in it. In comparison mode, he selects the "Surfing" weather report, the "Surfspots" location collection and the "7-Day Meteogram" weather module. Comparison mode will allow him to see at a glance what the wave forecast looks like for the next 7 days at all his surf spots.
Location & Map Search
Using both text and map search to find a place near Queenstown, NZ, save it as a favorite and open the weather report afterwards.
"No location, no weather forecast"
When you think of a good weather app, you probably don't think of location search. Yet, it is one of the most important parts of a good weather app. There are few things more frustrating than trying to find the right location for a weather forecast.
That's why I've included what I think is a very handy location search in Sonuby.
Tap on the search bar in the forecast area or add locations to a location collection to open the location search.
The location search consists of two modes: text search and map search.
Text search allows you to search for location names, postal codes and coordinates. The search results are displayed in a list below the input field. For each search result, properties of the location, such as country, elevation, or state, are displayed to help you find the location. The Info button can also be used to display each search result individually on a map, which should completely eliminate any geographical ambiguity. The heart button allows you to add a location directly to a location collection. If the location is already in a collection, the button is colored red.
Alternatively, you can use map search. If you do not know the name of the place, or if the text search did not yield any results, or if it is faster to find the place using a map, you can use the Map Search button to quickly switch to map search.
Map search displays a map with a crosshair in the center. Move the crosshairs to target the desired location. In the lower part of the screen, you will see the closest locations to your destination as you drag the map. By tapping on one of the search result, either specific locations or the exact coordinates can be opened or saved directly by clicking on the heart button.
Convenient: With the option to rename locations, you can rename (coordinate) search results to make them easier to read.
Both search modes can be used in combination. For example, if you know a nearby location, but not the exact name of the location, you can first enter the known location in the text search. Swipe left on the location to open a menu that allows you to open the location in Map Search. The map search can then be used to find the exact location on the map.
Creating a location collection "Surfspots", adding surf spot coordinates and renaming them.
Most weather apps allow you to mark locations as favorites. Sonuby extends this functionality by adding the ability to create your own location collections.
This allows you to sort important locations thematically, so that your favorites collection does not get too big, making it frustrating to search for the right location.
Location collections are not only useful for organizing locations, they also provide quick access to relevant weather forecasts.
In both forecast modes, Report Mode and Comparison Mode, you can quickly select location collections and compare weather forecasts for the locations they contain.
The combination of location collections and weather reports also simplifies the parallel use of Sonuby for different applications.
For example, a skydiver could use Sonuby for both jump planning and everyday use by saving relevant locations of his daily life in favorites and jump locations in a separate "Dropzones" location collection. For jump planning, he could quickly switch to the "Dropzones" location collection, select the "Skydiving" weather report, and have all relevant forecasts for his jump locations right at his fingertips. For daily planning, he could quickly switch to the favorites location collection and the "Daily Life" weather report.
Location collections are the ideal complement to weather reports, linking relevant forecasts to relevant locations.
Creating location collections is only available to Enthusiast subscribers.
Weather modules present forecasts in different ways and are part of a weather report.
The 7-Day Meteogram is ideal for quickly evaluating the weather on specific days.
Interacting with 7-Day Meteogram in "Daily Life" weather report.
The 7-day meteogram summarizes the time course of various forecast parameters (e.g. air temperature or precipitation) for the next seven days at the selected location.
Depending on the forecast parameter, the data is displayed as a curve diagram (air temperature), as a bar chart (precipitation), but sometimes also in other graphical forms (wind bar charts or altitude diagrams).
By tapping on the graph, you can view specific values for individual time periods.
The 7-Day Meteogram is ideal for quickly evaluating the weather on specific days.
For example, if you are planning a hike, you can use the 7-day meteogram of the "Daily Life" weather report to check the air temperature, possible precipitation, cloud cover, and possible sunshine duration at a glance.
The hourly forecast provides a quick overview of the weather for the next few hours.
Scrolling through hourly forecast in "Daily Life" weather report.
Is it going to rain in the next hour? Do I need to wear warm clothes tonight?
Planning the next few hours is a classic use case for weather apps. Ideally, these questions can be answered in as few steps as possible.
The horizontally scrolling hourly forecast in the Daily Life weather report is perfect for this situation.
It shows the most important forecast parameters such as air temperature, wind speed and a graphical summary of the weather in the form of a pictogram. It is displayed in a compact way in time segments of one to three hours. The rainSPOT, developed by meteoblue, is also very practical.
It shows the expected amount of precipitation around the selected location in the form of a two-dimensional 7x7 grid. The selected location is represented by the square in the center of the grid. If precipitation is expected for the time period and region, the boxes turn blue or green (showers) depending on the amount of precipitation. Especially in comparison to the previous or following time periods, the possible precipitation development can be recognized without opening the rain radar weather map.
Daily & Weekly Overviews
Hourly and daily overviews show more complex forecasts as compactly and informatively as possible.
Interacting with Daily Overview weather module in "Skydiving" weather report.
Some forecasts, such as the forecast of winds at different altitudes or the development of wave heights over a certain period of time, cannot be presented as simple hourly forecasts.
To provide a quick overview of more complex forecasts for both hourly time periods and individual days, Sonuby offers hourly and daily overviews.
These consist of one or more submodules such as meteograms, individual numerical values and other graphical representations.
For example, both the "Skydiving" and "Surfing" weather reports offer a nowcast, which shows the forecast for the current period and gives a quick overview of the expected situation on site.
The daily overview of the Skydiving weather report includes a cloud, wind and temperature diagram for different altitudes, a graph showing the wind and gusts at the dropzone and a tile showing the predicted visibility.
Weather maps allow a better assessment of weather conditions and weather correlations in and around the selected location.
Opening the radar weather map and switching between weather maps.
In some situations, forecasts for individual locations are not sufficient because they are not informative enough for larger contexts, such as wind movements.
This is where weather maps come in handy. They show forecasts for one or more meteorological variables, such as wind, in a two-dimensional view.
Sonuby offers a number of different weather maps. They are displayed in report and comparison mode as a preview and can be enlarged by tapping (on a smartphone). On tablets they are displayed in full screen mode automatically. In full-screen mode, the maps are interactive. For example, you can change the forecast period or zoom in and out.
Some of the most useful maps on Sonuby:
Radar map showing the expected precipitation development at the selected location
Wave direction map in the "Surfing" weather report
Most of the weather forecasts shown are from the Swiss weather service meteoblue. The in-house weather model uses different weather models such as ECMWF, GFS or ICON and selects the best forecast for the selected location.
meteoblue is known for its high forecast quality and accuracy.
The tide forecasts in the "Surfing" weather report are obtained from the Marea Tides API.
Extending the Hourly Forecast weather module using Extended Mode setting.
Weather modules are already configured to show only the forecasts that are relevant to the application area.
Of course, each user may have a different idea of which forecasts are relevant. Since some users may want to see more forecasts, most weather modules offer an extended mode. This can be enabled in the module settings (cog icon on the right side below a weather module) and ensures that additional information is displayed.
For example, the hourly forecast of the "Daily Life" weather report will additionally show the parameters felt temperature, wind direction, relative humidity and precipitation probability.
Extended Mode is only available to Enthusiast subscribers.
If you want to access the weather reports at a later time, you can switch to the "Weather Reports" tab (second tab from the right), select the desired weather report and activate it with the button at the top.
If a weather report is no longer needed, it can be deactivated in the same way.
Depending on the region and application, weather forecasts are displayed in different units.
To avoid anyone having to get used to different units or convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, Sonuby offers a number of unit settings:
Kilometers per hour (km/h)
Meters per second (m/s)
Miles per hour (mph)
The Enthusiast subscription is an optional paid subscription that adds some useful features and forecasts to the already extensive feature set of the free version of Sonuby.
Full access to all forecasts
Some forecasts in Sonuby are limited or not available in the free version. By purchasing the Enthusiast subscription, the following forecasts will be unlocked:
Full access to altitude forecasts in the "Skydiving" weather report
Various weather maps such as wave periods, ocean currents or visibility
Advanced mode and more configuration options for weather modules
Weather modules can display additional forecast parameters in some cases ("Extended Mode"). In addition, some weather modules offer additional settings, such as the configuration of the altitude for which the wind map should be displayed.
Extended mode and additional configuration options are enabled for Enthusiast subscribers.