See the Power of the Wind in the Palm of Your Hand: Conrad Blucher Institute Makes Wind Data Easily Accessible

May 22, 2014

Wind App

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Windsurfers, boat captains, local fishermen, and beach-goers rejoice! Dr. Philippe Tissot, Associate Director of the Conrad Blucher Institute (CBI) has recently made an app that allows users to have access to Texas coastal winds at the touch of a button.

“Technology moves quickly and for more than 20 years CBI has aimed at taking advantage of new technologies to provide information in real-time, simply and efficiently to its users,” said Tissot. “The Texas Coastal Winds app follows the idea that users want specific information in an easy to use and graphically pleasing format.”

The app works in conjunction with another CBI project, The Texas Coastal Ocean Observation Network, and provides users with real-time wind speeds based on location. The Texas Coastal Winds app can be accessed from a computer or smartphone or users can download it for free from the Google Play store. Users can use their device location functions to see nearby wind speed and directions in miles per hour, knots, and meters per second. Information is updated every six minutes and users can see data stretching from Port Isabel to Port Arthur, Texas.

“The community benefits by gaining easy access to atmospheric conditions along the Texas coast,” said Tissot. “This is useful for professional who work along the coast and for planning recreational activities.”

Information is collected from 32 scientific data collection platforms which must meet National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration standards and guidelines. By creating such apps and making them available to the public, the Island University is able to interact with coastal stakeholders, state and federal agencies.

“The development of such apps is excellent professional preparation for our students,” said Tissot. “They learn highly sought after skills such as mobile computing, use of geolocation services, analytics and can show their creativity through visible work.”

The Texas Coastal Winds app was developed by the Coastal Dynamics Laboratory research team at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Specifically by three undergraduate research students; Computer Science majors Francesca Picarazzi and Darius Stephens; and Geographic Information Science major Julien Clifford.

Useful and user-friendly apps are part of the the future of the research institute, whose research includes developing predictive models for navigation, safety and the management of coastal resources. The technologies used for Texas Coastal Winds app were based on the Transit app that helped with navigation along the Houston/Galveston ship channel.

“We are developing new apps for other environmental parameters,” said Tissot. “Such apps will complement the CBI’s sophisticated data access tools, presently focusing on scientists and professionals.”

Currently, the lab is also developing new ways to compare the impact of sea level rise around the Gulf of Mexico, to compute regional sea level trends and new methods to assess hydrodynamic models using GIS and aerial imagery.

 Tissot came to the Island University in 1999, and has focused his research on sea level rise, the development of operational coastal prediction models for navigation and emergency management, hydrodynamic modeling of bays and estuaries, as well as developing mobile apps that communicate coastal information.