Over the past 30 years, the scientific community has been coming out with more and more research showing the ever-continuing escalation of global warming and its effects on communities worldwide. Over the past few weeks, the Weather Express group has been pushing to develop a new and innovative technology that will create a new point of access to climate research for people ranging from outdoor enthusiasts to Fortune 500 companies looking to better track weather patterns around their systems.
Through use of inexpensive and easy-to-use open sourced tools like the Arduino UNO board and Raspberry Pi, Weather Express has developed a product that will reshape the nature of environmental research. Using those tools, coupled with available distributed computing software (i.e., what is offered by Amazon Web Services), the Weather Express team expects to join together opensource technologies with environmental research and climate activism.
Weather Express is designed to integrate the Arduino UNO board along with multiple environmental sensors to send data to a Raspberry Pi (and in turn an AWS server) for users to analyze and manipulate. Using multiple different sensors which can all be found on various Websites such as AdaFruit, the Weather Express is able to integrate multiple different monitors to a single system, ensuring accurate results. Sensors such as the BMP180 Barometric and Altitude sensor use gauges on the chip which when given altitude input can translate multiple weather patterns into a readable barometric reading. To measure temperature and humidity, our project is employing the DHT11 sensor. The DHT11 uses varying electrical signals to monitor the atmospheric temperature and humidity and sends the varying electrical signals to the Arduino which translates the data into readable alphanumeric characters. Additional devices such as a raindrop sensor which has a grid circuit design which detects when it comes into contact with raindrops. When that happens it sends the signal to the Arduino which again sends the data to the Raspberry Pi for transmission to the cloud. There are plenty of other sensors that can be plugged in depending on the needs of a client. There are libraries on the Arduino which allow for the use of varying sensors which can be changed and used depending on the scenario. Once the data gets to the Arduino, the software reads the electrical signals and translates them to readable data in the form of an array which is then uploaded to an Amazon EC2 instance where the user logs in to access the data.
Our team chose these specific technologies for Weather Express to ensure future users can continue to innovate the field of environmental research using their own passion and ideas. Using a primarily opensource platform and licensing the product and it’s software under opensource licenses, allows for a community of citizen scientists, outdoor enthusiasts, and academic researchers to build a strong community around improving the system and develop the future of weather research.
Weather Express is designed for a user that cannot afford a traditional weather monitoring system as they often range in price from $600 to over $2000. These systems are in a very specialized market where not a lot of money or time is spent in development, and because of supply and demand, companies who build these technologies aren’t interested in lowering the price of their products. Besides its price, Weather Express is going to revolutionize the market for the ability to connect users and their data together. Now more than ever, people are looking to connect, and ensuring they are able to do that is paramount to the success of Weather Express. Once people are able to come together to make large maps of weather patterns, they will be able to grow a community of dedicated researchers.
With global warming increasing the effects and severity of worldwide weather patterns, it is becoming important to have a more thorough understanding of the environment. Every year, as more land and sea ice melts causing the sea level to rise, coastal communities will be threatened directly. These communities will sink deeper until they are completely submerged by the ocean. Utilizing technologies like Weather Express, the worldwide community of researchers and concerned citizens can start working together to gain a better understanding of the world we inhabit and what steps can be taken to save what we have left.