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Integrating Weather Reports into a Webserver?

Cliff posted about 9 years ago | from the instant-forcasts dept.

The Internet 61

meteorologist asks: "I work at a small college (300 students) in a small town (1500 people), and on our website we have a weather section. The problem is that it can only get weather information from a town 40 miles away. There is one local reporting station, but it reports exclusively to weatherbug, which slows down computers, and inevitably leads to spyware infections. How do I go about setting up a weather meter (temperature, humidity, wind velocity, and so forth) so that its results can be integrated into an already established website?"

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I got this one... (-1, Flamebait)

databoing (259158) | about 9 years ago | (#13671834)

Set up your weather equipment's reading program to put the data into a database. On your website's server, set up a script to query the database for the relevant data for that day.

Now, was that so hard? Or are you asking about what meteorological hardware & software is out there on the market for amateur weather people?

Re:I got this one... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672665)

Insightful? Come on mods, this is in no way what he was asking for. Flamebait anyone?

Re:I got this one... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13673954)

Flamebait? Come on mods, this is in no way what he was asking for. Underrated anyone?

Re:I got this one... (1)

RegalBegal (742288) | about 9 years ago | (#13674987)

How is that Flamebait? It's exactly what he should do. This place amazes me sometimes. The last sentence was biting but it's true. Jebus. Somedays the points are for Mods without a sense of humor or logic. Flamebait me, I don't care.

Re:I got this one... (1)

rzebram (828885) | about 9 years ago | (#13719510)

I'll bite... While I think just leaving all mod points off of it would have sufficed, he got modded down because he didn't answer the clearly-posted and described question. He wanted help earlier in the process than this, so this guy's suggestions, while they may have been remotely relevant later, do little if anything to help him in the first place. Honestly, I think this one comes down to a case of needing to read and understand the question, and then respond on ly if you have useful insight to share. If he asks about hardware, give him a hardware answer. If he asks how he should get data from the software that came with his device to his webpage, this answer might have helped.

How do I go about setting up a weather meter (temperature, humidity, wind velocity, and so forth) so that its results can be integrated into an already established website?

Google (2, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#13671852)

Fire up google and search for "home weather meter computer kit".

Wow amazing! It's like a knowledge index for websites that returns results for stuff you want to know about!

Re:Google (4, Insightful)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | about 9 years ago | (#13672019)

It's like a knowledge index for websites that returns results for stuff you want to know about!

Although, frequently Google mostly returns results for stuff the Vendors want you to know about. The stuff YOU want to know about is burried deep within one of the 1,040,000 results, and you'd be better off asking your fellow geek. Who knows, maybe you'll spark a conversation or two.

Sometimes asking a question to a discussion forum/newssite isn't wrong.

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672686)

You deserve mod points if for no other reason than the fact that you actually performed the google query to get the result-set count.

Re:Google (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | about 9 years ago | (#13675789)

Fire up google and search for "home weather meter computer kit".

Wow amazing! It's like a knowledge index for websites that returns results for stuff you want to know about!

"Dammit Seumas!! I'm a meteorologist, not a computer scientist!"

Re:Google (1)

BenjyD (316700) | about 9 years ago | (#13682927)

Or you could post a question to a website where thousands of knowledgable geeks with similar interests post every day, thereby creating a page that contains a large amount of information about the subject for Google to index.

La Crosse Weather Station + Open2300 + LAMP (4, Informative)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | about 9 years ago | (#13671854)

How funny, I'm working on this today.

I use a weather station made by La Crosse [] .

The station measures temperature, rain, humidity, wind speed and even calculates the dew point. It also functions as an atomic clock receiver.

The sensors are outside, and connect to a base station inside the house through a wired or wireless (433 MHz) connection. The base station connects to a PC over a serial connection. The sensors are battery powered. Mine have been running for 6 months off of NiMH batteries.

The stations come with software for Windows, but you can also use connect via Linux using the Open2300 [] project.

2300 includes most everything you need: The C programs read from the device via a serial port and write the information to a flat file or to an optional MySQL database.

Using a set of PHP scripts, you can host the data on any Apache webserver. As an alternative, you can upload the data to Weather Underground [] , or even broadcast it over a HAM radio (Citizens Weather-- but I know nothing about this).

The weather stations also listens to the NIST Atomic Clock in Boulder, Colorado. I'm looking at ways of using my weather station to set the time for my NTP service.

It's all pretty straightforward, and requires very little technical knowledge if you use the vendor-supplied versions of MySQL, PHP (With GD) & Apache.

My station for Berkeley [] has been setup for a month, but I need to remount the temperature sensors to a location that doesn't collect as much heat. It's not really 85F in Berkeley right now-- it's 85F right outside the office door, and a cool 80F inside.

Re:La Crosse Weather Station + Open2300 + LAMP (3, Funny)

ForestGrump (644805) | about 9 years ago | (#13671997)

That's too much fuss! Do this instead:

1. Take an old 486 and install weatherbug on it.
2. Setup webacam to take pics off the 486's monitor.
3. Serve webcam pics.


Re:La Crosse Weather Station + Open2300 + LAMP (1)

superatrain (842910) | about 9 years ago | (#13672517)

How you do?

Way of the simple is to run cord of extention to the outside of house. Be plugging in the 486-WetherMaster 4.0. Connecting cord of ethernet you should now. Be running Pinger on the server computer to see if the 486-WetherMaster 4.0 is worked.

If the Pinger program stop of the working, the 486-WetherMaster 4.0 is of being in bad wether. Be unplug the WetherMaster 4.0 so fire should not to migrate from the WetherMaster 4.0

  - Never left the WetherMaster 4.0 where car ran over it.
  - If much rain, WetherMaster 4.0 will to migrate fire to cord of extention. Caring with rain.
  - Results was more acurate with or 2 more WetherMaster 4.0's. Making sure the state lid is open or closed than other one.

Any damage of personal is not responcibility of author of this text. :P Could work... but no temp monitor. If you find a rare 486 with a temp guage, you might be able to use it... :D

Re:La Crosse Weather Station + Open2300 + LAMP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672749)

First of all, was that even English? Second, I don't see why that particular post earned a -1 on its own (de)merits; however, I notice that the parent poster has a solid history of -1's.

This brings me to my third question (off topic): why would someone keep posting in account that has been flagged to start at -1? Just make a new account, dude.

Re:La Crosse Weather Station + Open2300 + LAMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672838)

Nah, if you keep making posts like =13671854 [] your karma will come back.

Re:La Crosse Weather Station + Open2300 + LAMP (1)

superatrain (842910) | about 9 years ago | (#13681975)

Started off with 2 bad posts. That moved my karma to 0. Then a friend thought it was funny to mod down another one of my posts. I have -1 for a while now... That was engrish -> I love bad translations... funniest thing ive seen: "To prevent the plasticisers to migrate from the table top..." :P george-forman low fat griller thingy... :D

Re:La Crosse Weather Station + Open2300 + LAMP (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | about 9 years ago | (#13672771)

That's actually the right idea.

1. Take an old 486 and install Weatherbug on it.
2. Sniff the network connection to the 486.
3. Extract the weather data and send it to your program.
4. Remove the 486, now that you've reverse-engineered Weatherbug.

5. ???
6. Weather!

There's no need to generate your own data if equivalent data already exists.

Problem is... (1)

edsonmedina (134008) | about 9 years ago | (#13702636)

The problem is, the webcam software ALSO has spyware.

For those that suggest Google or complain (1)

sr180 (700526) | about 9 years ago | (#13681823)

For those that complain about crappy Ask Slashdot Stories and reply "Use Google!!!!1", the above answer shows exactly why asking slashdot really pays off.

Wrong way (4, Informative)

Solder Fumes (797270) | about 9 years ago | (#13671896)

See if NOAA has forecasts for your area. Then hunt down PHP code, or develop your own, to process METARs for current conditions and TAFs for weather forecasts. This stuff can be pulled straight from NOAA. I know there's a PHP Services_Weather class out there.

If you try to simply display data from a cheap weather sensor kit, you won't get forecasts or anything.

Re:Wrong way (4, Informative)

bergeron76 (176351) | about 9 years ago | (#13672317)

You might want to check out

They have some useful weather info there, and I think it's contributed to by individuals as well.

Perhaps you have a neighbor that's reporting to it.

Re:Wrong way (2, Informative)

lbmouse (473316) | about 9 years ago | (#13675255)

I was thinking the same thing. FYI, here is the link directly to the Weather Underground Personal Weather Station (PWS) page: sp []

Re:Wrong way (1)

maxume (22995) | about 9 years ago | (#13672476)

It is likely that he is referring to NOAA data when he talks about the data being for a town 40 miles away...

Re:Wrong way (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672581)

Weatherbug gets their data from a company I used to work for, which gets their data from NOAA (mainly).

Re:Wrong way (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 9 years ago | (#13683987)

Weatherbug also gets data from installations, usually in schools, that only send to Weatherbug. The company that makes it usually pays the school to have the equipment installed, IIRC.

Wireless Weather Rock (5, Funny)

fred fleenblat (463628) | about 9 years ago | (#13671965)

Wireless Weather Rock -- Tie a rock to a rope and hang the rope from a
piece of wood stuck in the ground.

If rock is wet: It is raining

If rock is white: It is snowing

If you can only see top half of rock: It is really snowing

If white things are bouncing off side of rock: It is hailing

If you can see shadow of rock: It is sunny

No shadow: It is overcast

If you cannot see rock: It is night time

If rock is slowly swinging back and forth: It is windy

If rock is pulling rope horizontal: It is a hurricane

If rock, rope, and stick are gone: There was a tornado

Re:Wireless Weather Rock (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672575)

That's not wireless! Look at step one!

Re:Wireless Weather Rock (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | about 9 years ago | (#13677469)

You'd get better results if you hung a wireless card instead of a rock.

Re:Wireless Weather Rock (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 years ago | (#13679546)

Wireless Weather Rock -- Tie a rock to a rope and hang the rope from a
piece of wood stuck in the ground.

What are you, an Engineer for Microsoft? If step one of making a wireless weather rock is to add a wire to the rock.

Sheesh. :-P

Re:Wireless Weather Rock (1)

sr180 (700526) | about 9 years ago | (#13681844)

If rock, rope, and stick are gone: There was a tornado

Or some poor bastard stole your weather recording system!

Easy Answer! (4, Informative)

cjsnell (5825) | about 9 years ago | (#13672146)

Wow, I've been waiting for this topic to show up for, what, six years now? :)

What you want is a Davis Instruments [] station. These stations hook up, via serial cable, to any PC. If you're running some form of *nix, I highly recommend the Device::WxM2 [] Perl module. I've written various collection daemons that use WxM2 to pull weather data from the station and store it in RRD [] format or in a PostgreSQL database [] . I even wrote an AGI script that allows people calling my Asterisk [] PBX to hear the latest weather data. I also wrote a handy widget [] for Konfabulator [] that lets you watch the weather on your Mac/PC desktop in real-time.

Shameless plug: if you decide that the Davis station is right for you, stop by my employer's website [] , where we have a variety [] of Davis Instruments choices.

One word of advice: we sell cheaper stations than the Davis models but if you are planning on putting this up on a roof and leaving it for 5+ years, you really want to go with a quality peice of equipment, not a Radio Shack toy that will disintegrate after a year in the sun.

Questions? Ask and I'll be glad to answer.


A few more... (3, Informative)

cjsnell (5825) | about 9 years ago | (#13672321)

Digging through my bookmarks, I found a few more. There is Meteo [] , which does data collection with a C program, storage using MySQL and delivery via PHP (and, apparently, RRDtool).

Here's another neat one: Joe Jaworski's vproweather [] uses a C-based program to pull the data from the Davis VantagePro stations, and some Bourne shell scripting to glue it all together. One neat thing about his approach: he is using SerialEthernet converters [] and a little program called remserial [] to tie his stations to his computer. This costs more than my method of using the Davis station's wireless capability to transmit the data, but is capable of sending the data over much longer distances--even around the world, I suppose.

Finally, these guys [] are using C, PostgreSQL, and Perl for their Davis-based station.

Re:Easy Answer! (-1, Flamebait)

Madd Scientist (894040) | about 9 years ago | (#13673360)

how the fuck can you get so excited over weather equipment?

Re:Easy Answer! (4, Funny)

cjsnell (5825) | about 9 years ago | (#13673848)

Judging by your userid and your post, it looks like you are new to Slashdot and computers in general. Welcome! We're glad you're here. How's your AOL trial working out for you?

Re:Easy Answer! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13676403)

Wher are teh games dude?

Re:Easy Answer! (1)

lobotomy (26260) | about 9 years ago | (#13674044)

Also check out wview [] . We have been talking about getting a Davis weather station at work. I am planning on using wview. From the wview site:
wview is a linux/*BSD/unix/MacOSX-Darwin application that controls a Davis Vantage Pro or Vantage Pro2 weather station console to retrieve archive records and current conditions. The archive records are stored in the Davis WLK file format (thus Weatherlink generated archive files can be used by wview). Archive records may optionally be stored in a relational database (MySQL or PostgreSQL). At a user-defined interval, wview will use the archive history and current conditions to generate weather images (buckets and graphs) and HTML web pages based on configurable HTML templates. Optionally, the web pages can be transferred to a remote web server via an ftp or secure ssh process included with wview. Optionally, the wview alarm daemon wvalarmd can be enabled to deliver current conditions to TCP socket clients as a near real-time data feed engine. wvalarmd can also be configured to function as a weather data alarm generator to user specified scripts or binaries. Optionally, your station data can be submitted to the CWOP system for use by NOAA and others or to the Weather Underground. wview can be easily configured for international or US units, labels and text. wview supports serial and USB data loggers. wview natively supports connectivity with a terminal server or serial server via TCP sockets - no intermediate driver required to make the ethernet port "look" like a serial port.

Re:Easy Answer! (1)

soapee01 (698313) | about 9 years ago | (#13679429)

I know where I work; we used to use davis equipment. Just don't go wireless (at least there older products), it tended to be a bit flakey. We ended up using one of these [] . Interfaces via RS-232, and somewhere they published there protocol online (couldn't find it with a quick search). It was trivial to integrate into LabVIEW, and a quick program in any language would be easy. Ours has been up and running for over a year without any problems. btw, whatup Joey/Chris? Mandy says hi. I forgot you're back from the tech sabbatical.

Try using some APRS data (3, Interesting)

teevoh (866693) | about 9 years ago | (#13672148)

Some ham radio guys have their weather stations send the current WX conditions to the internet. Try going here [] and entering in your city and state into their search. From there look for stations with a blue circle with WX in the middle. Those stations send out weather data. In my case [] the station CW2113. Click on the date to get the raw packet [] . From there you can decode the data.

CW2113>APRS,TCPXX*,qAX,CW2113:@290007z4138.23N/087 49.28W_356/007g...t056P057h87b10047.DsVP

Ignore everything before the @
29 is the Day
0007z is the zulu time
4138.23N/08749.28W are the lattitude and longitude of the station
356/007g wind is from 356* at 7MPH
t056 tempature is 56*F
P057 0.57" of precip have fallen
h87 is 87% humidity

Alternatively you can buy a scanner and a TNC and listen to the packets yourself on 145.390MHz.
Some other interesting sites are jfindu [] and googleAPRS []

Try using some distributed data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13676673)

A project I would like to see is remote enviromental monitoring. Not just all the information that a weather station would give, but things like particulates in the air (for ashma suffers).* Pollution concentration. For those near bodies of water. Monitor all that. This application is one example of distribution plus the Internet working in the OSS community.

*A les people forget. You don't need lots of money to make some scientific instruments.

OneWire Weather Station (3, Informative)

snopes (27370) | about 9 years ago | (#13672198)

Weather station and accessories based on the Dallas 1-Wire and iButton components: []

Linux software: []

I'll be honest. I bought the kit, got the basics running with the software, couldn't get the wind vane calibrated, and ran out of time (new home, new baby, etc.). However, it all seems to work just fine and lots of people that report into seem to use this kit. I just haven't gotten it fully going myself.

Just saw the the guy that maintains the unix/linux/risc os s/w has it running on a Linksys NSLU2. Cool.

Re:OneWire Weather Station (1)

ziggyboy (232080) | about 9 years ago | (#13673852)

I worked with the 1-Wire weather station in one of the engineering subjects I did a couple of years back. The lecturer for that subject maintains this weather site [] . I don't remember much of what I did but I remember being able to pull data from it using Java. I would imagine it would be pretty easy to turn this into a servlet. You don't even have to be an electrical/computer engineer to make it work. Btw, I am a computer science major.

Re:OneWire Weather Station (1)

CyberDong (137370) | about 9 years ago | (#13700620)

My hometown (Calgary, AB) has a weather site [] that's built on the 1-Wire set. He's using a Java servlet and a plotting library to present the data from his station, and he's also scraping forecasts and data from other sites.

Oregon Scientific + Ambient VWS + Hamweather (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13672672)

I've been running the above combo for my weatherstation a few years now. Works real well.

You don't have to spend big bucks, either. You can do quite a bit with just a few hundred dollars.

If you use Zope... (2, Informative)

jalet (36114) | about 9 years ago | (#13673508)

Then download and install my ZWeatherApplet [] Zope Product.

Weatherbug (1)

holy zarquon's singi (640532) | about 9 years ago | (#13673578)

Not that I know about Weatherbug, but It seems to me that with a little bit of perl, WWW::Mechanize and WWW::Mechanize::Shell, maybe a bit of greping through some binary data (if Weatherbug reports through an ActiveX thingy) would enable you to get your weather data without using IE. Should only take a couple of hours, unless Weatherbug is really broken.

NOAA already offers RSS / WSDL / XML / SOAP feeds (1)

maggard (5579) | about 9 years ago | (#13673884)

The US Gov't has free fully buzzword compliant ready-to-wrangle weather data in elaborately documented formats, see NOAA Experimental National Digital Forecast Database XML Web Service [] . Using these and the data from Organization - NOAA's National Weather Service [] you should be able to create a completely customized local forecast (if not exact local condition reporting) for seamlessly embedding into your online services.

Weatherbug Web Sticker (3, Interesting)

Ben Beroukhim (918803) | about 9 years ago | (#13673984)

I am a programmer for WeatherBug. You can use a recently developed tool from us called WeatherBug Stickers. [] . It alows you to integrate our weather station data directly to your web site very easily. You can also use our API to integrate our data directly to your application [] We are owners of largest weather station network in U.S. and I would say the world. We own 8,000 Weather Stations and 1500 Weather Cameras. We provide data to US homeland security, energy, transportation and much more. Weatherbug is not Spyware, or in any way harm your computer. With such assets we will be nuts to do such a thing. Ben

Re:Weatherbug Web Sticker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13675373)

I am a programmer for WeatherBug.... Weatherbug is not Spyware, or in any way harm your computer. With such assets we will be nuts to do such a thing.

I'm sure that I'm not the only one here who has seen computers behave poorly when Weatherbug is installed, and have them perform better as soon as Weatherbug is removed. If you are who you say you are, please spend more time writing better and more efficient code instead of posting on Slashdot.

Re:Weatherbug Web Sticker (2, Interesting)

rabbit994 (686936) | about 9 years ago | (#13676982)

Your right, weatherbug doesn't harm your computer nor is spyware, it's those third party apps that you bundle with it that do. It's nice to be able to farm the harm to third party apps and claim zero libility when they royally f*** up a computer.

Re:Weatherbug Web Sticker (2, Interesting)

The-Bus (138060) | about 9 years ago | (#13677993)

It may not technically be Spyware, but the newer versions are huge memory hogs without there being an equally huge jump in the information being provided. Most people consider it "AdWare" and while the idea of WeatherBug is nice, I don't need something else in my system tray that is hogging up HUGE amounts of resources for the basic stuff that it does. Ideally, it should be a tiny system tray icon that if clicked, opens up a browser. You guys took a wrong turn when you tried to integrate everything into the mini-Weatherbug browser, which is not the reason most people get WB to begin with.

(I did use WeatherBug for about a year or so until it the problems above multiplied and it was too much of a hassle).

Your software is spyware... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13679750)

...According to the makers [] of the Operating System it installs on.

I think I'll take the opinion of an uninterested 3rd party that has billions of dollars to risk over your company's opinions on its own software, TYVM.

Let's not forget the history of your company and it's ties with the some of the worst spyware in history, like Gator. As it stands your software presently by default bundles and installs 3rd party components that clearly are spyware, but the WeatherBug executables themselves are not, when copied to another system and run individually, spyware.

That makes your software nothing more than a fence for spyware. Most people in the world call fences for what they do: theive. In your case you are a fence for spyware, so your software is called spyware, capice?

The moment WeatherBug is available as a standalone application with no extra software bundled with it or reccomended for installation it could be classified as purely spyware free.

I'll be waiting until that day. Hell shall freeze over first.

MythWeather (1)

extremescholar (714216) | about 9 years ago | (#13674920)

My guess is that you can use something like Myth Wewather from the MythTv Suite.

cleware (1)

flok (24996) | about 9 years ago | (#13674997)

I bought a couple of temperature-sensors at cleware [] . They connect through USB and work really well. Wrote a tool for it for easy controlling their devices: clewarecontrol [] . They also have humidity sensors.

Here's a couple ... (1)

rlp (11898) | about 9 years ago | (#13675125)

If you want to build it into your Web site: the National Weather Service has a per state RSS feed containing weather alerts. The URL is: [] .rss

Where is a two letter state abbreviation. If you just want to let users access (quickly) weather reports via browser; I highly recommend the 'ForecastFox' extension to Firefox.

Simplest method (1)

Intron (870560) | about 9 years ago | (#13675420)

Point a webcam at a weather rock []

phpWeather (2, Informative)

kcornwell (555464) | about 9 years ago | (#13675631)

I wrote this hack some time ago. It uses the weatherbug data from several thousand weather stations around the country. I also did it in VB 6.0. Both are found here... ry=3 []

Ambient Weather Solution (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13679488)

Try [] . The Weather Exchange program is virus / adware free, no networking fees, and you can create your own website.

Web Posting Question (1)

Geccie (730389) | about 9 years ago | (#13686608)

Seems like there are a lot of methods to acquire data from sensors. As I am not a web person, what is the simplest method effective method to periodically update a website with the acquired sensor information (and potentially data trend images). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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