Citizen journalism may be increasingly popular, but there is one almost exceedingly obvious place in which we don’t often see it: reporting the weather. Obviously, there’s much more of a need for scientific examination when it comes to predicting it, but what about experiencing it in real time? How often do you log onto the local news station's website to see what the temperature is right now, if you should pack an umbrella or a sun hat for the day? How often is that station incorrect?
That, at the most basic level, is what Weathermob is trying to combat. The self-proclaimed “social weather company” allows users to report the weather in real time. Some folks are meteorologists but most are just lay people who have the unique ability to go outside.
The new version of the app allows for what seemingly should have been in the original: photo sharing, so other folks can actually see how bad the snowfall/etc. in their neighborhood is.
While this might seem like a fairly rudimentary idea, it could be useful in areas that don’t have strong local forecasting, such as many third-world nations. It could also be beneficial during natural disasters. As a New Orleanian, I know personally how useful it could be to know which streets are flooded and which grocery stores are opened following a hurricane.
At the moment, it’s got about 80,000 users in 135 countries, allowing for hyperlocal coverage around the world.