Weather Defender Documentation

Perimeter Alerts are one of the most powerful features in Weather Defender, providing you with the capability to automatically detect weather threats and be alerted via screen, email, or mobile device in time to take necessary action.


1 - How it Works

Whenever a weather or dynamic layer is updated, Weather Defender performs a scan of all Alert Perimeters monitoring that layer. If an object is located within the specified range (within the green circle), an alert will be triggered and predefined action taken.

Automatically detect approaching weather threats

Automatically detect approaching weather threats

Everything is customizable: the layers which can be monitored, the location and range of perimeters, and the actions which can be triggered.


2 - Creating a Perimeter

New perimeters can be created using the Perimeter tool from the Map Tab of the toolbar. Click the Perimeter tool button, and then move the mouse cursor to the center of the area you wish to monitor.

Next, left-click and drag the mouse cursor away from the centerpoint. As you do so, a green circle will appear and a measurement line indicating the approximate radius of the perimeter.

When you have achieved the desired size, release the left mouse button.


3 - Perimeter Settings Dialog

When a new perimeter is created, a Settings Dialog will appear. After completing the fields in this dialog, your Perimeter will be established and ready to scan.

Perimeter Settings Dialog

Perimeter Settings Dialog


3.1 - Setup Tab

The Setup Tab contains options for selecting which layer or layers you want to monitor, and configuring the alert conditions for each layer.


Enter the name you want to assign to this Perimeter. You can name the Perimeter anything, but each Perimeter must have a unique name. The Perimeter's name will be passed along with other information when an alert is triggered.

Layers to Monitor Panel

In the Layers Listing, you will find every layer which may be monitored by your Perimeter. Note that not all layer types are compatible with Alert Perimeters, so you will not see the entire listing of layers from your map here. Only layers which meet the following criteria are listed:

  • Layer is dynamic (updates from the Internet)
  • Layer is vector-based (consists of shapes, lines, or points, but not raster images)
  • Alerting is permitted (certain layers, such as Lightning Hobbyist are restricted from alerting)

Layers Listing on Setup Tab

Layers Listing on Setup Tab

Select at least one layer from the listing by checking the box next to its name. After you check the box, you should see the layer appear in the Conditions panel below.

There is no limit to the number of layers you can monitor at the same time. But because you may take only a single action for each Perimeter, you may want to create multiple Perimeters if you want to take different actions for different weather threats.

Conditions Panel

Conditions are the 'thresholds' at which an alert should be triggered.

Conditions Panel on Setup Tab

Conditions Panel on Setup Tab

You probably don't want to sound an alert every time there is a Radar return inside your Perimeter, because many Radar returns are just ground clutter. You want to alert when Radar is indicating severe weather, or at least steady rain. For that reason, you would set the condition to a specific threshold.

For example, only alert if Radar > 25 dBZ, or Temperature > 100 degrees.

To do this, select the desired layer:field from the drop-down list in the conditions panel, then select an evaluator (<, >, =, etc), and finally enter a number into the field on the right.

The above example of Radar > 25 dBZ would look like this:


What do all those list values mean?

Depending on how many layers you have checked off in the Layer Listing, you might see a dozen or more [LayerName:FieldName] options in the conditions drop-down listing:

What do all these options mean?

What do all these options mean?

Here's what they mean. In Weather Defender, each Layer may have multiple fields of information associated with each object in the layer. For example, the Warning Polygons layer contains fields for the type of warning, time issued, time expires, which weather office issued it, and others. Any combination of fields may be used as alert conditions. But most of the time you will only be concerned with one field.

This flexibility in the alert conditions allows you, the end-user, to integrate external 3rd-party data with Perimeter Alerts feature.

Alerting on Any Object

To alert on any object from a particular layer within your Perimeter, regardless of value, select the Layer:* (any object) option from the drop-down list.

This setting is useful for layers in which all objects are considered threats, such as Watch Outlines or Storm Reports.

Configuring Multiple Conditions

Use the conjunction drop down (And/Or) to add more than one condition. For example, if you wanted to alert on Snow, you might set the following conditions:

Rain > 25 dBZ AND Temperature <= 32


When multiple conditions are set, the alert will only be triggered if all conditions are are evaluated as True. You may set conditions on multiple fields from the same layer or across many fields from multiple layers.


3.2 - Action Tab

The Perimeter Settings Action Tab contains options for intiating an action after an alert has been triggered.

Perimeter Settings, Action Tab

Perimeter Settings, Action Tab


Select the Action Program you want the program to execute when an alert is triggered for this perimeter.


Default installed Action Programs include:
  • Play Sound (Siren, Thunder, Chimes)
  • Popup Alert on Screen
  • Email Alert

Some Action Programs, such as Email Alert require additional settings. After making a selection, click the Settings button and fill out any additional information required by that Action Program.

NOTE: See 'Configuring Email Alerts' below for help with this specific Action Program

Click the Preview button to test a selected Action Program.

Preview button allows testing of Action Programs

Preview button allows testing of Action Programs

Edit/Delete/Import Action Programs

For advanaced users, you may customize which Action Programs appear here by using the links below the drop down list: Edit Delete Import.

NOTE: You may import any executable Windows application as an Action Program. Please refer to Developer Reference for more information about creating and importing action programs.

Minimum Delay

Use the Minimum Delay Between Alerts field to set the minimum time that must elapse before getting a second warning on this Perimeter.

For example, if you only want to receive a first warning when your perimeter is breached, you might select a 60 minute delay. If you want to continue receiving alerts for the entire duration a threat is present, you might set the delay to 5 minutes.

Highlight Threat on Screen

Check this box if you want the offending object to be highlighted in yellow on your screen.


4 - Edit, Delete, or Disable Perimeters

Once a Perimeter has been created, you may modify its setting at any time by hovering your mouse cursor over the center point of the Perimeter, and selecting Settings.


This will bring up the same Settings Dialog that you used to create the Perimeter. Modify layers, conditions, or actions and click OK to save your changes.

NOTE: You may not move or resize a Perimeter after it has been created

To delete a Perimeter, select the Delete option from the same menu.

To temporarily disable a Perimeter, deselect the Alert Perimeters layer button in the System Layers grouping in the Map Layers Dialog Window.


5 - Configuring E-mail Alerts

E-mail Alerts are simply another Action Program included with the default installation of Weather Defender. However, the option is so powerful and frequently used that it warrants its own reference.

To enable e-mail alerts for your perimeter:

  1. Open the Perimeter's settings
  2. Select the Action tab
  3. Select the Email Alert option from the Action Program drop-down list
  4. Click Settings button to configure


5.1 - Email Template

Email Alert Settings

Email Alert Settings

The initial settings screen is presented much like a Compose E-mail in Outlook or other e-mail programs:

The e-mail address of the person 'sending' the alert.

The e-mail address(es) of the recipient(s) 'receiving' the alert. Separate multiple addresses with a comma.

Sending SMS Text Alerts to Cell Phones

All cellular providers allow e-mails to be translated into SMS Texts for sending to cell phones.

Use the following formatting to send Perimeter Alerts to a cell phone:

Provider Domain


Enter the subject as you want it to appear in the e-mail (variables are allowed).

Enter the body of the alert message you want to send. A default template is provided which you may customize, or you may create your own from scratch by clearing out the current text.

Variables are bits of information passed to the Email Action Program when an alert is triggered. They may be used to customize your email message with details about the specific threat that triggered the alert.

{Date}Date the alert was triggered
{Time}Time of day the alert was triggered
{UtcDate}UTC/GMT Date of the alert
{UtcTime}UTC/GMT Time of the alert
{PerimeterName}Name of the Perimeter, as entered on the Perimeter Settings screen
{LayerName}Name of the Layer which contained the threat
{DistanceInMiles}Distance, in miles, from the center of the Perimeter to the object which triggered the alert
{DistianceInKilometers}Distance, in kilometers, from the center of the Perimeter to the object which triggered the alert
{DistanceInDegrees}Distance, in latitude/longitude degrees, from the center of the Perimeter to the object which triggered the alert
{BearingInCompass}Direction, in north/south/east/west descriptions, from the center of the Perimeter to the object which triggered the alert
{BearingInDegrees}Direction, in 0-360 degrees, from the center of the Perimeter to the object which triggered the alert
{AllFields}Displays all GIS data fields associated with the object

For additional settings available to COMMERCIAL EDITION users, please see Weather Layer Data Reference.


5.2 - Server Settings

Email Alert Settings - Server Tab

Email Alert Settings - Server Tab

Complete the fields on this tab to specify which server and authentication options the Email Alert program should use to send the e-mail alerts.

I don't know my SMTP Server

SMTP server and authentication settings are the same as you would enter with any standard e-mail client like Outlook. Speak with your network administrator or Internet service provider if you cannot find your SMTP server settings.

Some web-based e-mail clients may not permit you to use their SMTP server outside of their websites. If this is the case, you will not be able to use these e-mail providers for Email Alerts. Consider signing up with an alternate e-mail provider or purchase a personal account with a discount provider.

Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP)
Enter the outbound email server the program should connect with to send the email. This is not a POP3 server, which is used for incoming messages in e-mail software.

Server Port
Enter the SMTP server port. Default = 25.

If your SMTP server requires authentication to send e-mails (most do), enter your username and password. Your username is the same as your e-mail address with many SMTP servers.


5.3 - Testing Your Configuration

After you have entered your e-mail template and server settings, click OK to return to the Perimeter Settings window.

Test your settings by clicking the Preview button. (Make sure your e-mail is one of those listed in the To field of the Email Settings.)

Within a minute (maybe two) you should receive an e-mail message.

If there was an error sending the message, you will see a notification about the error popup within about 90 seconds. An error probably means that one of your Server settings was incorrect. Double check the Server settings, as well as the From and To fields to make sure all addresses are valid e-mail addresses and try again.

If you do not see an error message but still haven't received the e-mail after 5 minutes (or more), check to see if the message was caught in a spam filter or delivered to your junk mail folder.

If you continue to have trouble, try testing alternate e-mail accounts or alternate SMTP Servers.

Weather Defender® - Desktop Weather Software for your PC. Weather Satellite, Weather Radar, and Street-Level Weather Tracking.

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