Starting in ForeFlight 15.9, users will see a new Radar (Beta) map layer available in the layer selector, directly under the preexisting Radar layer.
The Radar (Beta) layer relies on the same internet data sources as the Radar layer but uses different computing techniques to generate imagery. The Radar (Beta) layer introduces a few improvements and functional differences described below.
Improvements over the Radar Layer
Compared to the Radar layer, the Radar (Beta) layer makes the following improvements:
- Faster Image Loading: The algorithms powering the Radar (Beta) layer require less data preprocessing than the Radar layer, meaning that it loads and updates weather imagery on the Maps view more quickly.
- Smoother Weather Graphics: The standard Radar layer generates raster imagery composed of individual pixels, which become grainy when zoomed in. However, the Radar (Beta) layer uses vector graphics to generate pixel-free images. This makes weather systems smoother at close magnification.
Graphics: Radar Layer on Left, Radar (Beta) Layer on Right
- More Accurate Coverage Boundaries: Areas of the map out of radar range are shown with a hashed overlay and the message “Radar not available.” The Radar (Beta) layer is able to display the dimensions of these out-of-range regions with more accuracy. This prevents the situation when a weather pattern appears to overlap a no-coverage area.
Coverage Boundaries: Radar Layer on Left, Radar (Beta) Layer on Right
Key Differences from the Radar Layer
While functionally similar to the standard internet Radar layer, the Radar (Beta) layer has a few noteworthy differences:
- Different Radar Timestamps: As with the Radar map layer, the time that the Radar (Beta) layer was last updated is displayed in the upper-left corner of the map, and color is used to indicate the age of the data. However, on the Radar (Beta) layer, the timestamp changes from white to yellow when the data is 15 minutes old and from yellow to red when the data is 20 or more minutes old. (The standard Radar layer timestamp changes to yellow when the data is 25 minutes old and red when it’s 30 or more minutes old.)
- Different Precipitation Color Scales: The Radar (Beta) layer uses a slightly different Radar Color Scale from the Radar layer.
Radar Precip Color Scale
Radar (Beta) Precip Color Scale
NOTE: As shown below, the Radar and Radar (Beta) layers also display different precipitation color scales when the Four Color Radar map option is selected.
Radar Precip Four-Color Scale
Radar (Beta) Precip Four-Color Scale