Summer Intern Shawn Cheeks debuts prototype mobile Weather app

Shawn Cheeks

Since late May 2013, the Unidata Program Center has been fortunate to play host to this year's Summer Intern, Shawn Cheeks, who is entering his Junior year at Marshall University in West Virginia this fall. He has worked on a number of software projects, including one developing an Android app for reporting severe weather events. Shawn has also worked with folks at the Charleston WFO on some testing, so he's no newcomer to working with weather data.

Shawn spent his summer working with Program Center developers and developing a prototype mobile application to display data from the THREDDS Data Server NetCDF Subset Service. His internship wrapped up on the 2nd of August, so before heading home he gave Program Center staff a short seminar on what he had learned in creating an Android app. (You can look through his presentation slides, if you like.)

Here's what Shawn has to say about his time at the Program Center:

Today, I wrap up my 10 week internship here at Unidata. First off, I would like to thank everyone at Unidata for making this such an enjoyable and engaging experience. Everyone was willing to give suggestions and feedback, and was willing to help me with any problems I couldn't quite figure out.

As far as my project here, I developed an Android application that creates a NetCDF Subset Service data request. Specifically, the app makes requests from the GFS CONUS 80km model and plots time series charts of a variable chosen by the user. It is currently limited to the GFS CONUS 80km model, but part of my intention was to get a working proof of concept. The code I wrote to handle the single model can be expanded to include multiple models, allowing the app to access more of the NCSS data. Although it is currently limited in scope, I hope that the proof of concept provided by my app will allow Unidata to venture deeper into the mobile application world.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see the area when I was not at work. While in Boulder, I was able visit the University of Colorado and meet with a couple of atmospheric science professors to talk about their graduate program. I also took trips to Nederland, Denver, Fort Collins (to tour Colorado State University), Colorado Springs, and Laramie (to tour the University of Wyoming).

Again, I would like to thank everyone at Unidata for welcoming me in for the summer and allowing me to partake in this wonderful experience.

“Having Shawn here was great — his investigations into mobile apps give us a good start in planning how Unidata will move into the mobile arena,” says Unidata Technical Project Manager Ethan Davis. “We hope to continue the summer internship program next year, and maybe even expand its scope.”

Unidata Program Center Director Mohan Ramamurthy had this to say to Shawn after his talk: “Many thanks for enlightening us on many aspects of developing mobile apps that interface with our data services. As you pointed out, much work remains to be done, but your work has at least gotten us thinking more about the opportunities and challenges.”

Watch this space for information about next year's Summer internship program!


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