divegenie frequently asked questions (FAQ)
All of the data displayed on divegenie.com are model estimates (predicted values for the specified date). Please read the help information available carefully, including our terms and conditions, before interpreting these forecasts. We can't be held responsible for decisions you make based on the information available on divegenie.
1. What is divegenie ?
2. How do I use these forecasts ?
3. What are the forecast tables ?
4. What does divegenie mean by visibility ?
5. How do we produce the visibility forecasts ?
6. What does divegenie mean by plankton concentrations ?
7. What does divegenie mean by water temperature ?
8. What does divegenie mean by air temperature ?
9. What does divegenie mean by wind ?
10. What does divegenie mean by swell ?
11. What are the divegenie visibility ratings ?
12. What is Google Earth and why would I want to use it ?
13. What do the podscrolls provide and how do I use them ?
14. My local dive site is not monitored, can you add it in ?
15. How often are the conditions updated ?
16. Why is the whole vis map purple ?
17. Why are there large areas of black in the vis map ?
18. Why is the whole plankton map yellow ?
19. What are the weather forecast links ?
1. What is divegenie ? divegenie is a free service providing forecast data optimised for the diving and snorkelling community. The original reason for divegenie was to reduce the amount of guess work and web searching needed when planning a dive. divegenie is able to provide forecasts for anywhere in the world. The forecasts are based around unique models run by divegenie to provide forecasts of the in-water conditions (e.g. visibility and plankton). In addition to these we also provide weather forecasts (e.g. wind, air temperature and waves) provided by the U.S National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Important: The forecasts provided by divegenie are human readable outputs from model runs. It is up to the user to interpret them. Please note that they are forecasts. Predicting the weather and in-water conditions is extremely difficult. These forecasts will never be perfect as a computer that produces perfect predictions does not currently exist.
The forecasts are displayed in regions. Each region shows a map of visibility, water temperature and plankton. These maps can be downloaded onto your iPod or mobile phone so that you can view them on the road, or even in the boat (see the podscrolls). Each region also shows a table comparing the foreacst conditions for each dive site within the region. Additionally, you can look at historical data for a given dive site, interactively select the dive sites on the maps, view all of the maps in Google Earth and search the dive site directory.
2. How do I use these forecasts ? The forecasts are meant as a tool to enable you to easily compare and monitor the conditions at different dive sites. For example, to help you avoid dive sites with poor visibilty, or those with colder water. Alternatively, you can use divegenie to watch your favourite dive site, waiting for the vis conditions to improve. The maps allow you to see how the conditions vary throughout the region. The forecast table allows you to easily compare the conditions between the different labelled dive sites. Please remember that they are forecasts and so will never be perfect, as predicting the weather and water conditions is extremely difficult.
3. What are the forecast tables ? The forecast tables allow you to compare the conditions between sites within a region. They show all of the predicted conditions for particular dive site, along with a divegenie rating which is shown by the coloured fish icons. Selecting a dive site with the mouse will highlight the dive site on the map as a red circle. The remaining dive sites will be grey circles. The bottom line of the table shows when the table was last updated (in Greenich mean time - GMT) and the time (in GMT) that the forecasts are valid for. This is normally set to be around midday, local time. Lastly, the GFS and WW3 model run time (in GMT) is also shown. The GFS and WW3 models are run four times a day, at 00:00, 06:00, 12:00 and 18:00.
4. What does divegenie mean by visibility ? The visibility (in metres) is a model estimate of how far you will be able to see through the water (these are predicted values for the specified date). Or put another way, an estimate of how far away your buddy could be before you lose sight of them. If the region includes areas of shallow water (e.g. reef) then the visibility estimate is likely to reflect this. For instance, if the maximum depth of the water is 2 m, then the visibility map will show a maximum visibility of 2 m (because you can see to the bottom).
5. How do we produce the visibility forecasts ? In the same way that weather forecasters use models to predict the weather, we use models to predict the water conditions. For this we use satellite data. This means that we actually know the current conditions (as the satellite sees them!), and we use this to predict the conditions for the next few days. As soon as we receive new satellite data, we re-run the models, meaning that you always get the best forecast.
6. What does divegenie mean by plankton concentrations ? These are the model estimated concentrations of the plankton (in mg m-3) that you may find in the water (these are predicted values for the specified date). The estimated concentrations can vary between 0.001 mg m-3 up to about 60 mg m-3. This information may be of particular use if you are interested in plankton feeding species. It is also another indicator of the clarity of the water.
7. What does divegenie mean by water temperature ? This is the model estimated temperature (in °C) of the water at the surface (these are predicted values for the specified date).
8. What does divegenie mean by air temperature ? This is the model estimated air temperature (in °C) at 2 metres above the ground. These model data are GFS (Global Forecast System) data provided by NCEP.
9. What does divegenie mean by wind ? This is the model estimated wind speed (in miles per hour - mph) and the arrows show the wind direction. By convention, the arrows show the direction the wind is moving in. These model data are GFS (Global Forecast System) data provided by NCEP.
10. What does divegenie mean by swell ? This is the model estimated swell size (in metres). The swell size will give an indication of the size of any ground swell and wind generated waves. These model data are NOAA wave watch 3 (NWW3) data provided by NCEP. These are data at a fairly low spatial resolution. This means that the values shown are 'for approximately' the region of each dive site. They will not accurately describe the waves for your local beach or reef and they are provided only as a guide to conditions.
11. What are the divegenie ratings ? These ratings allow the conditions at different dive sites to be easily compared. The more coloured fish a site has, the better the visibility conditions are expected to be. The more grey fish there are, the lower the visibility will be. In addition, blue fish represent sites with a water temperature of less than 16 °C whereas, red fish represent sites with a water temperature which is greater than 16 °C. So, ideally you want loads of red fish (e.g. high visibility and warm water!)
12. What is Google Earth and why would I want to use it ? Google Earth is a free piece of softare developed by the company behind the google search engine. Apart from allowing you to look at a picture of your house and allowing you to see into your neighbour's garden, it also allows you to overlay the visibility and temperature maps. This means that after installing GoogleEarth onto your computer, you can click on the 'display in google earth' link on the region pages and it will load the image into Google Earth. This will enable you to view the predicted conditions (visibility or temperature) at any location within the region, zoom in and out, and allows you to determine the predicted conditions at a particular latitude and longitude - ideal!.
13. What do the podscrolls provide and how do I use them ? There is one podscroll per region, and each podscroll provides all of the region maps (visibility and water temperature estimates). The podscrolls are updated everyday at the same time as the website pages. This means that you can have a copy of the divegenie maps on your own image enabled devices (e.g. your mobile phone, laptop, PDA or iPOD). They are provided in both PC and Apple MAC formats. The podscroll is essentially a compressed zip file containing all of the divegenie maps (in both PC and Apple MAC formats). Simply download the file, uncompress it and then sync or copy the files onto your chosen image enabled device. The file can be uncompressed using any un-zip utility (many are available free of charge, try searching on Google). Synchronising the files varies depending on your chosen image enabled device. For example, if you are using a PC enabled video iPOD then: i) uncompress the podscroll; ii) move the divegenie directory (it's name begins with 'DG_') into your 'My pictures' folder; iii) launch iTUNES making sure that your photos are synchronised with your 'My pictures' folder. The podscroll will now appear under the 'Photos' heading on your iPOD main menu.
14. My local dive site is not monitored, can you add it in ? Yes, if your local site isn't currently included, then complete the site submission form and we'll try and add it in.
15. How often are the predicted conditions updated ? The divegenie model forecasts (e.g. visibility, plankton, water temperature) are updated every 24 hours. The GFS and WW3 forecasts (e.g. wind, air temperature and swell) are updated every 6 hours. The update time for the GFS and WW3 model forecasts is shown on the bottom line of each forecast table.
16. Why is the whole vis map purple ? If the whole vis map is purple (the lowest value on the scale), then no data are currently available for this region. Some of the model inputs are satellite data, and long periods of clouds mean that the satellite cannot see the ocean, resulting in no estimates. Please check back in 24 hours for the next update.
17. Why are there large areas of black in the vis or plankton maps ? If there are large areas of black apparent in the visiblity or plankton maps, then these are missing data and are likely to degrade the estimates for the whole region. Some of the model inputs are satellite data, and long periods of clouds mean that the satellite cannot see the ocean, resulting in no data. Please check back in 24 hours for the next update.
18. Why is the whole plankton map yellow ? If the whole plankton map is yellow (the lowest value on the scale), then no data are currently available for this region. Some of the model inputs are satellite data, and long periods of clouds mean that the satellite cannot see the ocean, resulting in no estimates. Please check back in 24 hours for the next update.
19. What are the weather forecast links ? The weather forecast links are provided for each region. They link to a third-party weather forecast website (normally wind guru). The link will provide you with a 3 day weather forecast (wind, swell, rain and air temperature) for one location (town or beach) within the divegenie region that you are viewing. These weather forecast links are region specific (not dive site specific) and should provide an overview of the weather conditions within the region for the next few days.
Website usage terms and conditions
- 3. Copyright
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all content (including images and maps) of divegenie.com is copyrighted. All information on this server can only be used for your own personal use. Reproduction, republishing, reformatting or any other use of this information without prior agreement is strictly prohibited.
- 4. Disclaimer of warranties
4.1 Environmental conditions are notoriously difficult to predict. divegenie gives no guarantee that the information on this website is correct, timely, accurate, reliable or error-free. All of the information is provided without warranty of any kind.
4.2 divegenie is not responsible for any direct or indirect damage resulting from usage of this website. divegenie cannot be held responsible for any decisions you make based on this information. Using this website and all available information is done at the user's own discretion and risk. divegenie cannot be held responsible for any outcomes directly, or indirectly linked to those decisions.
4.3 The divegenie visibility gradings are meant as a guide only and should not alone be used to make a decision as to whether it is safe to enter the sea/body of water.
4.4 divgenie is not responsible for any action you take by interpreting data presented on this website.
4.5 All of the data displayed on divegenie.com are estimates generated from numerical models. divegenie cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of any content or material found herein.
5.1 We will not publish or provide to a third party any data about individual users of divegenie.
5.2 divgenie is allowed to collect and process information related to website usage of various services and content. Aggregate statistical information about website usage can be made public or provided to advertisers.