About & Pics


The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) needs your help with our research!

As a, the Precipitation Identification Near the Ground project (W-PING) needs you, the Citizen Scientist, to watch and report on precipitation.

PING is looking for volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to make observations - teachers, classes, families, everyone and anyone! This app and associated web pages are your portal to providing observations to the research meteorologists at NSSL that will help us develop and refine algorithms that use the newly upgraded dual-polarization NEXRAD radars to detect and report on the type of precipitation that you see falling. To do a good job, we need tens of thousands of observations form all over the US. We can succeed only with your help.

PING volunteer observers can spend as much time as they want, from a little to a lot, making observations. The basic idea is simple: NSSL will collect radar data from NEXRAD radars in your area along with sounding data from our models during storm events, and use your data to develop and validate new and better algorithms. We have two focus areas: winter precipitation type, such as rain, freezing rain, drizzle, freezing drizzle, snow, graupel, ice pellets, mixed rain and snow, mixed ice pellets and snow and even observations of “none” when the precipitation has stopped, even if only briefly.

Why? Because the radars cannot see close to the ground at far distances and because automated surface sensors are only at airports. But the people affected by winter weather are everywhere so we need you to tell us what is happening where you are.

But we need more than winter weather details: when there are thunderstorms, we need to know if hail falls and, if it does how big it is. Measuring with a ruler is best but, whatever you do, stay safe.

All you need to do is use this app to select the precipitation type. Tell us what is hitting the ground. NSSL scientists will compare your report with what the radar has detected and what our models think the atmosphere is doing, and use it to develop new technologies and techniques to determine what kind of precipitation such as snow, ice, rain or hail and its size is falling where.

 Free in iOS App Store


mPing screenshot 1

Version History

Launched Dec 09, 2012 (over 6 years ago).

Releasing new versions every 9 months, on average.

Jan 21
Version 2.0

Improved user interface
Submits to a different data base via HTTPS
Supports dynamic language selection with new languages being added constantly
New report display with world wide viewing

Jan 12
Version 1.4

Native iPad support
View Reports better integrated within the app
Translations to Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Chinese

May 02
Version 1.2

The mPING project has been expanded and renamed to Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground!

We are now accepting reports of:
wind damage
reduced visibility

And as always we are still looking for precipitation type reports!

Feb 02
Version 1.1

Added a view reports button to the main display
Fixed spelling mistakes

Dec 09
Version 1.0

Previous 3 versions

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