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Marine weather log database for a cellphone -- my experience

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A few years ago, I made a PDA HanDBase database to log weather observations while cruising. I had a Palm personal data assistant at the time, but HanDBase is written for multiple platforms, so when I later reverted to a Windows Mobile device, it was easy to port the database to the other platform. I'm big into computers, so it was natural that I would give this a try.

Boaters need to pay close attention to the weather. They think in terms of the next few hours: microweather forecasting. The log allowed me to both track my observations over the past hours and days, and capture essentials from weather-radio forecasts for the next hours and days.

It didn't work very well. The medium was the problem. PDA screens are small. They are hard to see in the bright sun. Entering data was slow without a full-sized keyboard. I couldn't get a sense of the weather by scrolling the screens.

So, I reverted to a small notebook, of the kind Hemingway used in the pre-electronic age. That worked much better.

What boaters need for managing the weather:
  • Voice access to someone on or near the waters ahead, to get a clear picture of the microweather.
  • A notebook and pen or pencil.
  • Voice radio to receive marine weather forecasts.
  • Internet access.
  • Digital barometer.
  • Electronic wind direction and wind speed measurement.
  • Air thermometer (optional, water thermometer even more optional).
  • Real time weather information overlaid on the GPS chartplotter.

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February 2018

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