As many of you may be aware I am a ham radio operator and that I am involved in the National Weather Service’s Skywarn program.
Some others of you are aware that I switched my computer over to a complete free and open source system (FOSS) a few days ago.
Ham radio and FOSS go hand in hand. Both are about experimenting, trial and error, and tweaking things until they work.
The above picture is from a FOSS Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) program called Xastir. APRS is used by hams primarily to show the location of various vehicle or points of interest or emergency. We use it to track both storms and storm spotters in our Skywarn activities.
In this particular set-up I am running maps from both the National Weather Service and TIGER maps from the US Government. As both sets of maps are from the government they are automatically in the public domain. You will notice some weather radar on the pic as well. That is fed to the program via the internet. The radar being from the government it is public domain as well.
A complete working APRS set-up that cost me nothing moneywise except for hardware and it has highly detailed street maps (which are not fully loaded in this pic) and weather radar to boot. How cool is that?