Widget: METAR/TAF

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The METAR/TAF widget is based heavily on Garmin’s already amazing built-in widget so if you’re used to the built-in widget, you should feel right at home with this widget as it functions very much like the original.

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You can download the widget from Garmin’s Connect IQ Store: https://apps.garmin.com/en-US/apps/99cfcc6b-5569-4e2d-9c4a-d0d946358a76

Improvements over the built-in METAR widget (on D2™ Bravo):

  • displays overview of four nearest METARs on a single screen
  • displays calculated density altitude and freezing level
  • can be used when BLE connection is not enabled/working (data will not be updated)
  • handles situation when nearest/chosen station doesn’t have a published METAR
  • handles variable winds
  • handles special METAR (SPECI) which can be missing some info
  • displays METAR remarks field
  • displays METAR observed at time
  • configurable color set for flight categories (VFR, MVFR, IFR, LIFR)
  • displays nearest TAF when selected station doesn’t have a published TAF

Limitations versus built-in METAR widget:

  • can not be used during an activity (this is a watch limitation)
  • validation of station entered cannot be validated immediately (since the aviation database on the watch is not accessible)

Functionality planned/not currently working:

  • option to exclude weather stations not co-located with an aerodrome (they are always excluded)

Known Issues:

  • the Connect IQ error icon is displayed when settings are edited using Garmin Connect Mobile (GCM) — fix by changing settings using Garmin Express
  • the retrieved METAR/TAF for some stations at the top of the hour is old (can take 5-10 minutes for data over the AFTN to be pushed out)

Usage / Notes

  1. Configure all the settings for the widget using Garmin Express or the Connect Mobile app on your phone.
  2. The last position retrieved by the widget is displayed on the bottom of the multi-METAR page. This position is never updated unless you request an update from the menu (see below for how to access the menu) or you configure the watch to retrieve your position every time you access the widget (usually not required).
  3. You will see a grey arc moving around the edge of the screen when the watch is waiting for a position fix or downloading METAR information. The time to get a position fix depends on your location and the number of satellites. The time to retrieve new/updated METAR information is normally 5-10 seconds.
  4. When a METAR is more than 60 minutes old, you will see an asterisk (*) character beside the station identifier.
  5. The calculated density altitude uses the true (wet) formula that takes dew point into account. Read my blog post on density altitude for more information.
  6. Use the Start button from the initial screen to enter the widget, then use the Start button again to bring up the menu. From the menu you can update your position, manually enter a station to view the METAR for, view the METAR for the nearest station (based on the current position) or view the METAR for your home aerodrome.

Changelog

0.8.9 -- 31 Oct 2016
 - cleaned up the initializing (first run/reset) screen
 - show a message if METAR is stale (older than 6 hours) and thus not displayed
 - increased speed of transition between METAR and TAF sections

0.8.8 -- 19 Oct 2016
 - styled the OK button (as 'disabled') until the minimum number of characters have been entered
 - added flight category name/colour to TAF forecast periods
 - added support for fēnix Chronos

0.8.7 -- 16 Aug 2016
 - fixed potential syntax errors regarding parameter count
 - fixed potential null pointer error when TAF info is empty

0.8.6 -- 15 Aug 2016
 - display a 'restart widget' message page if settings need to be updated
 - fixed bug with random station functionality [0.8.6.1]

0.8.5 -- 13 Aug 2016
 - fixed crash when TAF was not available/empty
 - pull a random station by entering the ident 'ZZZZ'
 - TAF is now displayed as an organized, paginated list (similar to built-in widget)
 - added option to display METAR age (rather than observed at time) in title
 - display system message page when for any errors when retrieving WX data
 - fixed bug where system activity notification stopped when first of multiple concurrent activities was finished

0.8.4 -- 31 Jul 2016
 - added support for using configured watch units
 - clear the cached station details if older than stale timeout (default 6 hrs)
 - show distance (if displayed METAR is different from requested station)
 - added custom text picker for ident input (that mimics the D2 Bravo built-in one)
 - fixed bug where user could get stuck on 'station not found' screen
 - fixed bug where user could get stuck on first run 'retrieving nearest stations' screen

0.8.3 -- 28 Jul 2016
 - displayed error message if entered station (or home aerodrome) is not found
 - fixed issue with using GCM to modify settings
 - properly handle main page setting (for other than 'Nearest Stations')

0.8.2 -- 25 Jul 2016
 - fixed issue where nearest stations were not ordered by distance
 - added configuration setting for altimeter field header (BARO or QNH)
 - added support for fēnix 3 (and derivatives)

0.8.1 -- 22 Jul 2016
 - added option to display other cloud layers if not overcast

0.8.0 -- 20 Jul 2016
 - initial release (beta)

*** IMPORTANT ***

This widget should be used for informational purposes only.

Although every attempt has been made to ensure the latest METAR/TAF are retrieved, the information and calculated density altitude, freezing levels and flight categories presented by the widget should not be used as a source when flight planning. Always ensure you do proper flight planning using data/information from official sources. You accept all responsibility for any activities for which this widget is used or relied on for.

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