Weather forecast at your fingertips

By Haruki Ume 14 March 2018, 12:00AM

With the changing weather patterns, it is crucial that we are always up to date with the mysterious works of Mother Nature. 

Since October 2016, Takeshi Matsumura, from Japan, has worked to develop the Samoa Weather app that allows Samoans to access weather bulletins at their fingertips. 

Mr. Matsumura has worked at the Samoa Meteorology Division as a J.I.C.A. volunteer since 2016. His work involves maintaining weather observation system.   

With the support of his work colleagues, the weather app was delivered in February, 2017, and in just one year, the number of downloads totaled 700.  

“TVs and radios have been the main medium for local people to know the weather. But nowadays, more and more people in Samoa use smartphones to access a variety of information on the internet,” Mr. Matsumura said.  

“For the Meteorology Division, smartphones are another channel to deliver weather forecast and early warning messages. One of the benefits of a smartphone is that we can directly reach many people and it alerts them easily.” 

He says before any disaster occurs, it is paramount that people are alerted so that they can prepare for the worst. 

“We provide the information by cooperating with the Disaster Management Office (D.M.O.)."

“When we have a disaster such as an earthquake, cyclone and tsunami, the Meteorology Division provides the observations, analysis, and forecasts about the natural disaster itself, and the D.M.O. guides local people on how to prepare and what actions to take for saving themselves."

“For instance, during Tropical Cyclone Gita, we had positive feedbacks from the public about our effort to keep them updated through various communication tools, including the app.”

Mr. Matsumura is now working on trying to improve the app for the benefit of the people of Samoa. 

“Last summer, we presented this app at the Pacific Meteorological Council,” he said.  

“Some meteorology offices in other Pacific countries showed their wills to make the same kind of service. But there are still points of improvement." 

“Now, this app is a one-way service from us to the users. However, it can be more interactive. 

For example, if the app can contain the feedback about past weather forecast or the new information which people get, it can potentially help us check the quality of our weather forecast,” he added.

Mr. Matsumura leaves Samoa in April. He hopes to transfer all his knowledge and skills he inherited in the past 16 years working in a telecommunication company and also about the app to his Samoan co-workers. 

“My colleagues are working so hard day and night to provide a better service. And my boss, Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea, is leading the team with eagerness every day. I’m sure they will continue to achieve even better service after I leave all for the safety of the Samoan people.”

If you are interested in the “Samoa Weather App”, please go to the app shop and download it. Here is the QR code for downloading. 

By Haruki Ume 14 March 2018, 12:00AM

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