In less than a month I’m going to celebrate my five year anniversary in Finland. When I landed here in the summer of 2007 I had no idea I’d stay for this long, but life has a way of throwing surprises at you. Now one of the key survival skills you absolutely must have to live in this country is knowing how to dress properly. When it’s -30 outside and the winds are howling, you need to make sure you put on long underwear and a scarf before leaving the house. If it’s between -2 and +2 for weeks and weeks on end, you have to wear boots because otherwise you’re going to slip on some ice and get a nasty bruise. Most people are content with checking the weather using the apps or widgets that their phones have preinstalled, but I’m very particular about where my data comes from. Finland has a National Meteorological Institute that has over 17,000 sensors sprinkled throughout the country. These sensors report conditions every hour and you can see the latest information on their website.
There’s nothing wrong with loading up your browser, typing FMI.fi, typing in the city you’re in, and looking at the data, but isn’t there a better way? Today I’m happy to report that the Finnish Meteorological Institute has finally released released an app. Two to be precise, one for Android, the other for iOS. That’s saying a lot since this is Nokia land, so you’d think there’d be a Symbian app, a Windows Phone app, and a J2ME app for S40 devices, but nope. Sorry.
So is this application good enough to replace the website? Yes. You launch it, it asks for permission to use your GPS to see which city you’re in, and then all the data you need is presented in a long scrolling list. The present conditions, sunrise and sunset, the weather for the next 12 hours, the next 10 days, and the app will even tell you which sensor it’s currently reading and how far away it is!
Best of all it gives you the option of using Finnish, Swedish, or English.