Thursday, January 6, 2011

Weather Station Lessons Learned

As part of my Christmas gift research, I wrote about selecting a home weather station.

I  configured the Davis Vantage Vue weather station  at my home so I could more easily install it at my parents house.

The integrated sensor suite is now sending so much data to so many people, that I'm keeping this one and purchasing a new unit for my parents home.  

Here's what I learned

Weather Underground, the default Google source for weather data, includes thousands of personal weather stations throughout the world.    To become a weather contributor, all you need to do is register your station.

You'll be given a call sign  - I'm KMAWELLE10 and my data is now available to any weather underground user.

Since Google's weather gadget draws from Weather Underground, any Google user seeking Weather from Wellesley Hills, MA is now receiving data directly from my home - I've become Google's default weather source for Wellesley.   Here's a great Patch article about it.

The Citizen's Weather Observation Program also enables easy registration of personal weather stations.   Once the data is quality controlled (here's my quality control report) , the data is added to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration's (NOAA) Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) and becomes part of the dataset used for research, disaster response, and forecasting.   My MADIS ID is D6574.

NOAA has given me "2 thumbs up" for accuracy - less than 1 degree variation in temperature and 1 millibar of barometric pressure from the official NOAA data sources.

Finally, I've added real time weather from my home to my blog - just scroll down past my crosslinked blogs and you'll find real time "Geekdoctor weather" from home that is located at

Lat: N 42 ° 18 ' 2 '' ( 42.301 ° )
Lon: W 71 ° 16 ' 19 '' ( -71.272 ° )
Elevation (ft): 221

The experience with this weather station taught me a great deal about interoperability.   A single XML standard for content complemented by a domain specific vocabulary, transported using a simple web protocol enabled me to connect a complex data stream from my house to thousands of users throughout the world in minutes.    Of course, the privacy/security/data integrity of temperature reporting is a much different problem than electronic health records, but let us hope that by the end of 2011, connecting patients, providers and payers will be as easy as sharing my home weather telemetry.


Unknown said...

John, it appears you are now the "mayor" (a la foursquare) of weather in Wellesley MA!

More seriously, I love the way you have drawn a parallel between the way weather reporting works and the way healthcare information flow will someday work...!

And as usual in reading your posts I learned something new and interesting along the way...

Thanks for sharing!

Scott Poest said...

I also like to send data to It isn't as big as WU, but it is interesting!

Medical Quack said...

This post is what earns the name "geek" and I mean that as a compliment:) I would have not known about this technology if had not been following your blog:)

Will privacy in healthcare be like the weather some day:) Shoot you may have property insurance carriers someday predicting who will need their services even before the storm takes place and have the claims ready to fill in online:)

Thanks for posting as I learned a bit more an gosh it looks so cold back there.