GeekTool Revisited: Weather Radar

June 29, 2009 in How-To by Bob Faulhaber

In a previous post we discussed the basics of installing and configuring GeekTool to display date and time in a heads-up type display on your screen, however with a little more imagination you can display just about any type of information and data.


To summarize how to display date and time information, here are the required commands:

Month:     date +%B
Day:           date +%A
Date:         date +%d
Time:        date +%I:%M
AM/PM:   date +%p

By modifying GeekTool’s options, you can change the fonts, size, colors and location placement on your display.

Using some of the other capabilities in GeekTool you can display images from any website. A good example would be weather radar images, especially if you live in an area with active or severe weather.

To find an appropriate image, go to either your local news channels website. Weather Channel, WeatherUnderground or the National Weather Service website and find their weather radar images. An image that would work correctly needs to have a static filename that the website uses to display the radar image. Dynamically named images or Flash images or animations won’t work.

An example of an image with a static filename would be:

Since most sites update their radar images every five minutes, be sure to set the Refresh time to their refresh time or longer, otherwise you will be unnecessarily increasing your CPU utilization and the number of requests to their website.


Adding the local Doppler Radar image to my GeekTool configuration gives me the following display.


With some imagination and some scripting know-how the possibilities of what you can do with GeekTool are almost unlimited.

If you have any cool GeekTool configurations or scripts, please register and leave them in the comments section before July 4th. We’ll pick the best one and send that person a $15 iTunes Gift Card

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