When Bryan Soltis began boating, he quickly found that while it may be clear and calm at home, at the other end of the bay, maybe not so much. This was quickly remedied through the NOAA website. But if you are in the middle of the bay, how can you quickly know what the seas are like if you decide to head out into the Gulf of Mexico? Luckily for boaters everywhere, Bryan is a software engineer at Bit-Wizards.
With the design help of J.D. Compton, a web and graphic designer at Bit-Wizards, Bryan developed a Windows 8 app that provides boating enthusiasts up-to-date marine information — seas, water temperature, winds — in an easy-to-read format. By accessing buoy data from the NOAA’s National Buoy Data Center, the Marine Scout Windows 8 App displays pertinent data from all stations within a user-defined range. Additionally, users can manually search for buoys throughout the United States and the rest of the world.
“Whenever I’m thinking of an app idea, I start with one that I think I would use,” says Soltis, Director of Research & Technology for Bit-Wizards. “Nothing ruins a boat outing like rough chop, so knowing the current surf conditions is extremely important. Marine Scout was designed to solve this issue and get up to date information in a sleek and efficient interface. As a .NET developer, I wanted to leverage the latest technologies when creating the app and get the most reach by developing it for Windows 8. Download the app, get your current marine conditions, and go enjoy the water!”
Bryan is quick to point out that the Microsoft Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) team provided exceptional support during the certification process saying, “The Microsoft team provides invaluable guidance and insight into the submission process to resolve issues and improve app stability and performance.”
With more than 40 million copies sold in the first month after it release, Windows 8 is on track to be quickly adopted, opening up the huge desktop market. And with roughly 93 percent of the total operating system market share, Windows is a platform with a very large audience — reaching both consumers and enterprises.
The Marine Scout app was developed using C# / XAML, Bing Maps SDK, Microsoft Advertising SDK, and Location Services. A trial / free version is available, which is ad-supported with limited features. The paid version removes the ads and allows users to share buoy data and set favorite buoys for quicker access. As an added bonus, “Easter Eggs,” which are secret responses that occur in response to an undocumented set of commands, are built into the Marine Scout app, and new "eggs" will continue to be incorporated into future updates.
The Marine Scout Windows 8 App is currently available for in the Windows Store.