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Mikel Nimbus

Crowdsourcing Meteorological Data

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Hi all. I'm turning to my fellow weather watchers for help and inspiration here.

I am currently doing an MSc degree in Mobile Computing and am planning to make my project somewhat weather related. I'm creating an inexpensive system which consists of attaching temperature, humidity and possibly air pressure sensors to moving vehicles as they go about their daily business. The data collected from these sensors on various vehicles (the more the better) are given a longitude and latitude value by a GPS sensor. This data will then be uploaded via 3G to a website which will show on a map the "Live" weather conditions across the country.

The original idea of this was to investigate whether this method of "crowd sourcing" meteorological data would give more accurate live data for a given location than using a service such as the BBC weather website. On the BBC website you input your post code and are given the current temperature based on the nearest Met Office fixed weather station. These fixed weather stations can be sparsely located and make it difficult to take into account local geographical effects on temperature especially within an Urban Heat Island setting. Therefore, you can often see discrepancies of several degrees from what the BBC weather website says and what the actual temperature is at your location.

I'm still trying to win him over but my supervisor says he does not think this is an interesting enough research question, although he himself is also stuck for ideas. He wants me to come up with a different research question based on this system of collecting weather data in this way. Can anyone think of alternative ways in which this crowdsourced data could be used to answer interesting questions or solve existing problems?

Any input is greatly appreciated and no answer is a stupid answer.

Mods please move if this is in the wrong section.

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Interesting idea, will have a think for you :)

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What sort of sensor would you use for humidity?

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Cheers Paul good.gif

What sort of sensor would you use for humidity?

I am using a USB hygrometer/thermometer device (as below). I've written a program which communicates with the Temp/Humidity and the GPS sensor and it sends the data to a web server automatically. Surprisingly, that was the easy part. The difficult part is working out what to do with the system and the data so I can investigate something and write a dissertation. Perhaps a usability study into whether such a system would benefit weather enthusiasts/forecasters when "nowcasting"...

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