4.3 The WeatherSTAR 4000 Emulator for Quasi-Operational Dissemination of Real-time Weather Data

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 2:00 PM
Room 11AB (Austin Convention Center)
Bill Goodwill, Software Developer, Harrison, ME; and N. Smith

The WS4000 emulator is a free application written in C#/XNA which displays weather information in the same visual presentation and format as the WeatherSTAR 4000 unit. The WeatherSTAR 4000 was an addressable satellite receiver technology used by The Weather Channel and resides at cable company headends. It receives weather data for the headend's locale via CATV satellite signal and then displays the data in different forms on The Weather Channel at certain times. Our software, the WS4000 emulator, is a Windows-based program that simulates the on screen appearance and behavior of the WeatherSTAR 4000 unit, which has largely been superseded by the newer IntelliSTAR technology during the past decade.

The WS4000 emulator is a feature-rich, multithreaded, customizable simulator of the 4000 which can be run on a Windows based operating system. It utilizes the GPU capabilities of modern graphics cards to display current weather information just as the 4000 did, including National Weather Service zone forecasts, short term forecasts, weather warnings and advisories, current observations parsed from METAR reports, and radar, all while being highly customizable and far more user friendly than the original hardware. The quasi-operational aspect of the application lies in its differing implementation (software vs. hardware), as well as methods of data retrieval, while retaining a visual presentation highly identical to the original WeatherSTAR 4000 hardware. The application has been received not only as an impressive piece of weather dissemination software for the home or work environment, but also as a source of strong nostalgia for those who sought weather information before the widespread growth of the internet. Example screens are displayed below, and the application will be demonstrated during an oral presentation at the conference.

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