Category: Citizen Weather Network (page 2 of 3)

In Citizen Matters: Weather Web around Bangalore

Know Your Climate and the Bangalore Citizen Weather Network is featured in Citizen Matters today.

Two young weather enthusiasts from the city have initiated the Citizen Weather Network that aims to capture real-time weather data from 30 locations in Bengaluru and make it freely available for public view over a web API. With five stations already installed in different parts of the city, they have started tracking Bengaluru’s microclimate. These indigenously developed Automated Weather Stations (AWS) house sensors for recording temperature, pressure, humidity and rainfall. Each weather station costs under Rs 50K.

The initiative, the brainchild of Pavan Srinath, Head of Policy Research at Takshashila Institution in Ulsoor, started in the form of a blog – Know Your Climate. As Srinath puts it, the blog was an attempt to make a serious study on the climate change by analysing the existing data available in the public domain, and placing it before the public in a simpler way. In 2014, Saurabh Chandra, CEO of Razorfish Neev, joined hands with Srinath to bring the idea to fruition.

Srinath says, “We approached Rajeev Jha of Yuktix Technologies to work towards building an indigenous weather station. Jha accepted the challenge and within eight months the first two Automated Weather Stations were ready.” The pilot stations were installed on the rooftop of Srinath’s house in Jayanagar and Saurabh’s house in Hebbal. Each station was developed at a cost of under Rs 50,000, much lower compared to the conventional stations that are built at a cost of Rs 2 lakh.

The modular weather stations are installed with sensors for measuring four factors – temperature, pressure, humidity and rainfall. While temperature, pressure and humidity sensors are housed within a radiation shield, the rain gauge is maintained separately. All these are connected to a main circuit board that logs all the data. The data is updated once in every three minutes which helps gauge the intensity of rain and weather pattern over time.

Jha vouches for the reliability of the data generated using the considerably cheap, but accurate sensors. “The instruments that we use in the station have been chosen after studying the specifications for an Automatic Weather Station published by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD),” he says.

These sensors collect the sample of the environment every 15 seconds. As many as 12 samples are taken for each transmitted reading. “We provide the data in par with the standards set by the IMD and World Meteorological Organisation. I can assure data accuracy of +/- 0.1 degree,” he affirms.

Read the full article at Citizen Matters

Know Your Climate featured in Economic Times

Know Your Climate and the Citizen Weather Network is featured in Economic Times today in a piece by Krithika Krishnaswamy on how individuals and groups are taking the initiative to make India’s cities smart.

ET2

“Indian school education often focuses on the climate and geography of India and the world, but we never learn enough about how things work in our city or town,” said Pavan Srinath, who runs Know Your Climate, a not-for-profit that was started in 2011 to tell data-driven stories on Bengaluru’s weather and climate.

Know Your Climate has five weather stations up and running — 25 more to come up by the end of this year, to start recording high quality, granular weather data from the city.

Once the data is collected, Know Your Climate aims to build apps that tell people when to commute or when to bring with them an umbrella or a jacket. The group also wants to set up stations on schools in the future, such that students learn geography and climate by understanding the weather in their in own schools. 

Yuktix, a Bengaluru-based startup, has developed these weather stations at Rs 50,000, a fraction of the cost it takes to import the equipment. “The idea is to show government organisations a model for both deploying weather stations and for making data public,” said Srinath. “It is my hope that the India Meteorological Department also modernises and serves the public much better in the coming years.”

[Full Article — Economic Times, Jan 22, 2015]

Citizen Weather Network Featured in Bangalore Mirror

Know Your Climate and the Citizen Weather Network are featured in Bangalore Mirror today by Jayanthi Madhukar.

Every Bangalorean has said it at least once in their lifetime — it is getting hotter nowadays. But if one happens to say this to Pavan Srinath, he’ll probably ask, “Where is the data supporting the statement?”

But who needs weather data? Isn’t it better to crib and whine about the weather? Srinath laughs. “It is highly interesting to know about one’s microclimate,” he attempts to explain. “If I get a weather update saying it will start raining here at Ulsoor at 5.30pm, I will plan to leave the office earlier to avoid a traffic jam.” One wishes.

[Full Article – Bangalore Mirror, September 14, 2014]

WeatherWatchers1x WeatherWatchers2x

A Citizen Weather Network

by Saurabh Chandra

We often wonder about how it sometimes rains in one part of Bangalore but not in another or how the temperature drops a few degrees once you cross the Hebbal flyover. Thus, we all intuitively talk about the microclimates that exist in the city but the weather data that we get to see online or on TV is from just a couple of weather stations that the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) runs in the city.

The Citizen Weather Network initiative aims for this simple never-done-before objective – capture real-time weather data from 25+ locations in the city and make it available for free over a web API. We believe it will give us fresh insights into our climate and allow us to trace microclimate changes over time.

We started out on this goal simply thinking that we should be able to buy some simple weather stations from abroad, convince fellow citizens to buy them and pool in the data online. However, this simple objective led us into a not-so-trivial chain of events. A subsequent post will detail the factors that we considered, and how in conclusion we ended up designing our own Automated Weather Station (AWS) in collaboration with a local startup.

The weather station will collect and publish real-time weather data onto a cloud server, where we can aggregate and do some useful analysis with it. Or we can simply expose it for someone to pull it and do something creative instead. We are almost ready to deploy the initial few units of the weather stations in Bangalore and will be publishing results of the field trial. Hopefully, the results will be encouraging enough for more volunteers to chip in and install this network of stations to create the data density we wish to achieve.

We also hope that this is a useful community project that will involve and promote citizen science. Weather is an amazing topic that brings together science, engineering, commerce together with the most mundane question – do I need an umbrella today or a most existential one – is it getting warmer by the day. A station at our home, apartment complex, institution or school will create a rare opportunity to associate around a community initiative centred around science.

We are excited and nervous. Whatever be the outcome, we will be wiser about our weather (amongst other things) in this endeavour. Stay tuned, and join us to form India’s first Citizen Weather Network in the city of Bangalore.

PS:
1. Frankly, even if IMD had more weather stations the data being recorded would have had the same fate as those in the existing stations around India – it would locked up in myriad formats and not be available through an API for citizens to use. The Karnataka Government has made a great effort in this front by setting up the Karnataka State Disaster Management Centre, which has deployed about a 100 weather stations in Bangalore. Unfortunately, the data produced from them is still not available for the public.

2. Pavan ran an interesting social experiment last April on trying to map rain in the city by crowdsourcing information.

Saurabh Chandra is a tech entrepreneur based in Bangalore and a weather enthusiast.

Internships at Know Your Climate

A few of us at Know Your Climate are in the early stages of working on a pilot project to build an urban Automated Weather Station (AWS) and we are offering internships to interested undergraduate and graduate students.

Urban India needs a high density and high quality weather station network that is currently missing in India. As an early post on this blog shows, weather can vary significantly across a city like Bangalore, and perhaps even climate. The current weather infrastructure is unable to capture this complexity.

We invite applications from those would like to apply their programming and analytical skills on real-life challenges. Coding for AWS is a great way to practice your programming skills and, at the same time, help make the blue prints of a weather station for your community. This is a first of its kind project in India.

We are looking for people familiar with javascript and plotting toolkits like D3 and rickshaw 3D. You will create the web front end for real-time streaming and visualization of weather data.

What we expect of you:
* Become familiar with the aws project
* Learn about real-time streaming of data
* Learn git and how to work with github
* Learn D3 and rickshaw toolkit.
* Contribute to discussions and documents

What you should expect
* You will have fun!
* working on a real life problem
* your work will really have an impact
* You will have a clearly defined mentor for technical discussions

The internships are based in Bangalore, India and applications are being accepted on a rolling basis. Send an email to know (dot) your (dot) climate (at) gmail (dot) com with a résumé and a covering letter if you wish to work with us.

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