February 19, 2015

Instagram – The Best Real Time Weather App in National Parks

Big Four Ice Cave is a beautiful hiking place of Mountain Baker northeast to Seattle. Despite the avalanche of the Big Four Snow Mountain on Dec 31st, 2014, the parking lot of the ice cave trail was full packed on at 3pm on Jan 1st, 2015. I never considered Instagram as the best real time weather until the New Year’s Day 2015.
The location of Big Four Ice Cave was marked on Instagram map in a place more than 50 miles away from the real location, but as long as I tapped the location feature on Instagram, all the images shot in Big Four Ice Cave was organized at the bottom of the map. When I tapped the image, Instagram told me that how many hours or days ago the user posted on Instagram.

Most weather apps or websites are able to cover places within a city in US. For those national parks, which could be 50 times larger than the city of Seattle, it was very challenging for the weather channels to tell us what is exactly happening in the mountains. It was very expensive for the weather channels to build their facility in the middle mountains.
The weather channels never told you the avalanche happened an hour ago before you headed to the mountain. It took too many steps within the channel before they could release official news.
A few years ago the national park website embedded the weather camera to show you the “real-time” weather with extremely low-resolution camera. Thanks to brave adventurers, explorers, and photographers who joined Instagram and used their smartphones to upload images at the current location, their pictures shot in the National Parks gave you much higher quality of picture than the weather-cam on the national parks website, which lead to a more accurate weather report than the official weather reporting tool.

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