Maringret’s WindGuru Page

WindGuru is one of the best weather forecasting system we have found on the internet. Most of the systems out there use the same data supplied in GRIB files from the NOAA which is produced 4 times a day. If everybody starts with the same set of numbers then the difference between sites comes down to the presentation and what further processing is applied to increase the ease of use. WindGuru excels in both areas.

Weather forecasting has been changed dramatically. Most of what is delivered by the media (radio, television and internet) comes from the large computer models called the GFS model. With GSM access on a boat the internet can be used to deliver personalised weather forecasts from the GFS model to the sailing boat.

WindGuru’s principle interface is through its website, where accounts may be created, forecast spots added and grouped, information display be tailoured. Some of these operations are performed infrequently when you change cruising areas and so we have put these notes together for ourselves.

WindGuru has one of the best presentations of the data GFS model produced by NOAA. Forecast locations are called “spots” by WindGuru and can be at any Lat/Long on the earth’s surface. There are about 6,000 “spots” around the world already in the system, if that doesn’t cover what you need then you are free to create “custom spots”. Using both the built-in spots and your own custom spots you can then make up “Forecast Sets” which are sequenced collections of spots. When displayed the forecast sets are a series of forecasts and so present the forecasts at points along a route. At any time all the built-in spots as well as your custom spots can be downloaded in KMZ format for Google Earth. Once downloaded the KMZ file can be decompressed into a KML file and loaded into other map programs.

Behaviour Notes:

  • When you change pages on the WindGuru site, the software may query the password, after which it will not continue to the destination page, the page selection that triggered the password request must be re-done
  • There is usually a top menu, below the WindGuru banner, sometimes there is a LH side menu also, menu options will be on the top menu and also may appear on the side menu
  • You can set either a Spot or Forecast Set as default so that it opens in a new window or tab
  • To open the default Spot or Forecast Set:
    forecast->Main page

Procedures:

  1. Adding a Custom Spot
    top menu->settings->Custom spots
    – click on the link “[add new]”
    – enter a name for the new spot
    – click on the zoomable map to mark the location
    – click on Save
  2. Adding a Forecast Set
    top menu->settings->Forecast sets
    – select the Spots that will comprise your Forecast Set
    – add the Spots to the list in the desired order
    – save the Forecast Set with the desired name
    – to make the Forecast Set the default, edit the Forecast Set, there is a checkbox for ‘default’
  3. Exporting Spots as KML
    A KML/KMZ file containing the spots in WindGuru can be downloaded but KML/KMZ can not be uploaded. The KMZ download will include: all standard WindGuru spots (almost 6,000 spots); custom spots; favourite spots.top menu->forecast->Main page
    sub-menu->Google Earth
    – click on either the “Click here” or the “Download KMZ file” links, they both download the same file
    – double-click the downloaded file to open in Google Earth where the 3 types of spots will each appear in a dedicated folder under Temporary Places
    – alternatively the KMZ file can be unzipped (to make a KML file) and be fed into another mapping program.

We have used WindGuru in various corners of the world and found it to be very dependable. It should be remembered that the forecast data is generated by computer models at NOAA so any discrepancy between forecast wind and actual wind is a product of the GFS model.

WindGuru does not display animated isobars, software that does that (which we use) are:

Note: Although GRIB files offer amazing features they do have limitations and persons unfamiliar with these are well advised to read the GRIB articles we have linked to (click here).

Further Note: Initially there was an Android app bearing the name of WindGuru produced by “Studio 11”. First the app was renamed to WindGuru11 as of 2015 the Studio 11 app (i.e. WindGuru11) was still in the Google Play store but the website had disappeared and emails were not being answered. For the early part of 2015 it had been failing to update reliably. The app WindGuru listed  on this page is by the authors of the website and works reliably.


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