SmartMet is software for Windows PCs that allows downloading and viewing weather information, from the MIDAS Weather server on the internet. Getting weather information is a key factor to any mariner, but prior to SmartMet there has been no ideal solution. Official marine sources such as radio broadcasts, Navtex and Weatherfax just give a very broad brush forecast, and the mariner needs to tune in at the right time to receive the forecast. Web browsing gives users a huge amount of data, but it is slow over mobile and satellite phone, a lot of time can be consumed looking for the right web pages, and once disconnected from the web, the information is no longer available.
SmartMet is designed to overcome these problems, allowing users to efficiently download the weather data they want, when they want, to their PCs. Then, offline, users can view the weather data in whatever way they want. The user can select exactly what area and times he wants the forecast for, and also what weather information is wanted in the forecast. Data is then downloaded from the Internet in a very compact format, ideal for fast and low cost downloads over a mobile or satellite phone, and many times faster than browsing web pages. It also comes direct into the SmartMet application, so the user does not have to worry about messing around with downloaded files or with e-mail attachments. Once downloaded, the user can build up the weather map exactly how he wants it, switching on and off layers, and displaying data as colour shading, contours, text and symbols. They can also zoom in and out, pan around, and step through in time. They can also export weather forecasts as GRIB files, for use with chart plotters that support GRIB weather data.