Dec 282009

Adam Boggs has release version 0.9 of the BrainStorm, a storm chasing tool for the linux platform. The new platform integrates web-based maps, such as Google Maps, radar and warning polygon data, and gps data pulled from an attached device.

The software is released under the GPLv2 license and as source code, so you’ll have to build it and install it yourself. While this is helped along by the use of autogen, there are dependencies that are not listed. The following had to be installed on my Ubuntu 9.04 system:


After installing these two I was able to run autogen, which will have a default prefix of /usr/local/ . A third library came up as not loadable when I went to run the binary, libosmgpsmap, a quick install of libosmgpsmap0 resolved this.

I was not able to test the GPS capabilities since I didn’t have mine handy enough. I’ll test that out at a later date.

As for the radar and severe overlay…

It only comes with radar sites in the ‘alley’ and are hardcoded, making the software somewhat useless in this respect for those outside of the radar coverage area. The warning polygons are actually overlayed images from the NWS site so they do appear pixelated. It seems this is how the software mainly works, by overlaying images upon the map, rather than creating shapes from polygon coordinate sets.

For the radars that it does offer, you can view various types of radar data that are available on the NWS site, including 1 hour precipitation and both velocity types. Only one type of radar can be viewed for all visible radar sites at a time. You’re also not given a choice of elevation angles so I’m assuming it is defaulted to the lowest.

The key here is that it can show your position in relation to a storm and give an idea of what is warned and not, on linux. For that, it does a good job… if you’re in the radar umbrella. What really needs to be improved is the ability to change more properties, such as radar types and sites to show, and even what is shown on the screen.

I look forward to where the software goes from here and so is Adam from the sound of it. It’s written in C/GTK+ and Adam states that anyone is more than welcome to help out.