Weather Viewer - About

The concept for the weather viewer was developed in 2006. The objective was to develop a program to enhance the educational value of the weather station data and webcam imagery commonly collected by K-12 and post-secondary schools for meteorology and earth science coursework. It is common for institutions that teach introductory weather and earth science courses to install weather stations and webcams to monitor local weather patterns and provide students with the opportunity to actively participate in the collection, analysis and dissemination of local data. These technologies also provide instructors with the ability to archive local data, reference historical events, and promote discussions of local weather patterns in the classroom. The true educational value of these resources, however, is often limited because the software programs that are commonly used to manage the weather data are designed for commerical applications and hobbyists, and not for commerical use. The weather viewer was developed to address this limitation and enhance the use of these resources in the classroom.

The program consists of a data collection system and a user interface (View Graphic). The collection system acquires and stores observations from weather stations. It also acquires imagery from weather webcams and internet weather sites (e.g., radar and satellite) and stores the images as time-lapse videos. The data collection system communicates with a user interface that has three windows to display the webcam imagery, internet map imagery, and plots of the weather station observations. The program allows the user to search the data collection system for past weather from multiple sites and view the data streams for a particular location in a synchronous manner. In addition, the interface includes a daily diary and bookmark tools to support the analysis of the data streams in the classroom.

The development of a weather viewer prototype (written in Java) began in in the spring of 2007 as a computer science class project under the direction of Bloomsburg University faculty members Curt Jones and Jeff Brunskill. Since the spring of 2007 over one hundred computer science students have worked on the program. In the spring of 2013, Brian Bankes, a private contractor and former Bloomsburg University graduate, was hired to clean the code and finish the prototype's core functionality. Starting in 2015, the Java prototype application was tested in introductory meteorology courses at Bloomsburg University. A version of the Java application was released to the public in 2016; however, slow download times limited the functionality of the application for off-campus users. A web-based version of the user interface (written in Javascript) was released in the spring of 2018. The web-based interface uses YouTube to store and distribute program content, resulting in a significant improvement in performance for off-campus users.

The web-based interface may be accessed at http://weatherviewer.bloomu.edu. The web-version is available for public use. To request an instructor account, please use the link on the weather viewer login page. Questions and comments may be sent to Jeff Brunskill jbrunski@bloomu.edu.

 

Related Publications:

Brunskill, Jeff, and Curt Jones. "The Bloomsburg Weather Viewer: A Resource for Integrating Webcam and Local Weather station Data into the Introductory Meteorology Classroom." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 92.8 (2011): 956-963.

| EGGS Department | Department of Mathematical and Digital Sciences | © 2018 Bloomsburg University