written by: luis84•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 11/19/2010
Learn about the Boltmeter app and find out if it is worth the download or just another costly, space-filling app. Find out how well it works to track lightning bolts and how the actual app performs in our review of Boltmeter.
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Boltmeter is an iPhone app designed by storm chasers for storm chasers. While the average run of the mill person could possibly use Boltmeter, the true value is for an experienced storm chase or weather fanatic.
Boltmeter grabs your GPS location and displays real-time data about lightning strikes in your current area. The information is easily displayed and allows users to view the presence of lighting in their vicinity.
The concept is fairly good, however, it will never live up to its true potential due to the limited interest for such an application on the iPhone market. Therefore the concept behind Boltmeter is just average, nothing more.
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Functionality & Content
Boltmeter is very simple, which is both good and bad. The core functionality of Boltmeter is to display the occurrences of lightning inrelevance to your current GPS location. It does complete that well, however, it does not do much more.
Upon launching Boltmeter you will be prompted to allow the application to use your location. Once you click allow, Boltmeter will pinpoint your location on a circular map. It will then place elongated, color triangles on the map around you to signify lightning. The colors are based on the intensity, red being the highest risk.
Boltmeter searches in a thirty-mile vicinity and alerts you at the top if lightning was found. Again, the application is very simple and straight to the point. In the lower left corner is an "i" for information, clicking this brings up some very basic information and settings. The overall functionality is quite limited but it does do what it advertises. It does not include anything extra or any additional functions, it simply displays real-time data about lightning strikes.
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Boltmeter works fairly well. The application loads fast and displays information in a timely manner. We did find a recurring glitch with two versions of Boltmeter on two different iDevices, when the "i" button is pressed, the application hangs or crashes, almost every single time.
Information displayed by Boltmeter seemed very accurate and it does retrieve the information near instantly, which is a great touch for storm chasers or weather fanatics. The application may also have some potential for worried parents, sport coaches and even photographers. The major advantage of this app is that it displays relevant lightning bolt information and does not display predicted or forecasted information. This ensures that the information being displayed is accurate and relevant, in other words -- there is and will be lightning strikes if Boltmeter says there will be. It might not seem practical to the every day iPhone owner, however, this app is definitely useful to a particular niche of iPhone users.
If you are expecting a detailed weather forecasting app or storm-chaser app, you probably will not be comfortable purchasing Boltmeter. However if you are looking for a straightforward app capable of displaying real-time information about lightning strikes with an easy to use interface, Boltmeter is a fair deal at $2.99. It can be downloaded from the iTunes Store (here).