July 5th, 2005


userinfo senji
2005/07/05 00:46:00 - Real-time weather map
A commonly suggested idea is that of a realtime weather map, that people can enter simple weather observations into ("rainy", "sunny", "stormy" etc) and have it updated on the spot. Does anyone have the web/GIS knowledge to create/help-with such a project?
Current Mood: [mood icon] sleepy
Entry Tags: geeky, irc, lazyweb, weather

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userinfo stephdairy
2005/07/05 09:05:19
This has the problem that you're rarely going to get enough and frequent enough observations from people to provide enough of an overall picture to make it interesting.

You don't need much GIS to plot things on a map. My station pages get away with a bit of PostScript (which you can download from the Ordnance Survey for free) and some perl scripts, and you're welcome to steal any of the referencing numbers I used to correlate coordinates in the PostScript outline map of Britain with the BNG.

However, unless you expect people to go and find the grid coordinates for their observations, you'll have to hook in a searchable location database and they generally aren't cheap.

(S)
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2005/07/05 09:10:08
The theory was that people would typically be observing from home or work, and finding a couple of grid locations (and storing them) isn't too much work.

We (#afp) were tracking storms across the UK the other day :-).
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userinfo edith_the_hutt
[userpic]
2005/07/05 09:56:54
What's wrong with good ol' Satilite photography?
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2005/07/05 10:02:38
That doesn't exactly tell you that it started raining in the centre of town 5 minutes ago :-)
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userinfo edith_the_hutt
[userpic]
2005/07/05 10:34:00
Ah, you want a real-time Cambridge weather system rather than the hourly UK updates the met has?
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2005/07/05 10:59:39
Every 6 hours, from what I can see on the website. Also I can't read satellite photography ("oh, there's some cloud somewhere over england"), and the MET office weather stations aren't close enough placed.

In practice most of the people I know live in Cambridge or London, but that doesn't mean that a system couldn't be useful for other people who I don't know :-).
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userinfo arnhem
[userpic]
2005/07/05 14:10:37
I've been musing about this for some time (or the more automatic scheme of inventing a very-cheap rain sensor that could be connected to peoples' home computers), but was worried that it might just turn out to be a wrong application of technology, with the task being far more effectively achieved by a radar mounted on the CUED roof.

But there's some very interesting scope for wondering how you deal with data that may be both accidentally and deliberately unreliable from large numbers of "co-operating" clients (there's some similar ideas I've had about collaborative traffic-warning systems, and the like).

I don't think, in practice, that you'll get timely enough information from enough people unless you do something to automate the information gathering. I wonder how cheap one could make a serial/usb-connected rain sensor (that wasn't an invitation to lightning strikes ...).
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Real-time weather map - Squaring the circle...

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