Viperfish is intended for the sailor looking to improve his weather forecasting. Viperfish provides the ability to visualise and modify GRIB (weather prediction) files, it can plot routes and provides routing based on coming weather and boat performance.
Viperfish is meant to provide the tools for sailors to:
- Retrieve GRIB files. GRIB files are available from several sources, but the main is NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration http://www.noaa.gov the US forecasting agency) which provide a very complete worldwide weather forecast. This functionality is currently achieved using external scripts using the 'wget' program but a built-in (customisable) download function will be developed
- Visualise these GRIB files, by data variable and forecasting time (GRIB files are made of a combination of data, such as wind speed and direction, precipitation, cloud cover, surface temperature, etc... given for each forecasting period. NOAA provides a forecast every 3 hours for 7 days). Naturally to make the visualisation more meaningful land contour must be super-imposed on the GRIB data - this functionality is already developed.
- Provides tools to modify GRIB files, this will give the would-be meteorologist the tools to "improve" NOAA's predictions with local knowledge (eg in some world areas NOAA often tends to underestimate wind strength) - this is to be developed
- Allows the user to prepare his route by way of plotting way-points (already developed).
- Enter his boat's performance curb, ie how fast his boat goes in given wind directions and strength. To be developed.
- For sailors the icing on the cake will come from the ability given by Viperfish to put all the above together and calculate for the user the optimal way to sail his route so as to minimise time at sea (which is an important security aspect). To be developed.
- Finally Landlubbers are not left out as Viperfish can also give a synopsis weather prediction for any point within the GRIB's geographic area (move mouse on any area of the map then right click and choose 'Forecast' in the pop-up menu). Partially developed.
Viperfish is an open source development project, released under the Mozilla licence.