|Bus Stop - Under The Rain by Leonid Afremov|
language or script, and getting their feet in the open-source ecosystem.
Your phone's handy weather app depends upon the goodwill of a for-profit data provider, and their often-opaque API (14 degrees? Where was it observed? When?) That's a shame because most data collection is paid for by you, the taxpayer.
Let's take the profit-from-data out of that system. Several projects have tried to do this before (including libgweather), but each tried to do too much and replicate the one-data-provider-to-rule-them-all model. And most ran aground on that complexity.
Here's where you come inOne afternoon, look up your weather service's online data sources. And knock together a script to publish them in a uniform format.
Here's the one I did for the United States:
Worldwide METAR observation sites
US DOD and NOAA weather radars
US Forecast/Alert zones
- Looking for data on non-METAR (non-airport) observation stations, weather radar sites, and whatever forecast and alert areas your country uses.
- Use the same format I did: Lat (deg.decimal), Lon (deg.decimal), Location Code, Long Name. Use the original source's data, even if it's wrong. Area and zones should use the lat/lon of the centroid.
- The format is simple CSV, easy to parse and publish.
- Publish on GitHub, for easy version control, permalinking, free storage, and uptime.
- Here's the key: Your data must be automatically-updated. Regularly, your program must check the original source and update your published version. How I did it with a cron job. Publish both the data and your method on GitHub.
- When you have published, drop me an e-mail so I can link to your data and source.
If you do it right, one afternoon to setup your country's self-updating database. Not a bad little project, you learn a little, and you help make the world a better place.
My country doesn't have online weather data
If you live in a country with a reasonably free press and reasonably fair elections, make a stink about it. You are probably already paying for it through taxes, why can't you have it?
If you live somewhere else, then next time you have a revolution or coup, add 'open data' to the long list of needed reforms.
What will this accomplish?This will create a free, sustainably updated, uniform, crowdsourced set of accurate worldwide data that will be easy to compile into a single global database. If you drop out, your online code will ensure another volunteer can step in.
This is one fundamental tool that other free-weather projects have lacked. And any weather project can use this.
The global database of locations is really small by most database standards. Small enough to easily fit on a phone. Small enough to be bundled with apps that can request data directly from original sources...once they can look up the correct source to use.
How will this change the world?It's about simple tools that make
it easy to create free, cool software.
And it's about ensuring free access to data you already paid for.
Not bad for one afternoon's contribution.