Weather Viewer - About

The concept for the weather viewer program was developed in the spring of 2006 by Dr. Jeff Brunskill who envisioned using this software system to assist with the understanding of meteorological concepts in his classes. 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 schools and colleges for 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 to provide opportunities for students to actively participate in the collection, analysis and dissemination of 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. Unfortunately, the true educational value of weather stations and webcams is often limited because the software programs that are commonly used to manage the associated data are designed for commercial applications or hobbyists, and not for classroom use. The weather viewer was developed to address this limitation and enhance the use of these resources for educators and students in the classroom. 

The weather viewer consists of a data collection system and a user interface (View Graphic). The collection system acquires and stores observations from a school’s weather station. It also acquires imagery from a school’s weather webcam 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 can be loaded onto any personal computer. The interface consists of three main windows that display the webcam imagery, internet map imagery, and plots of weather station observations. The program allows the user to search the data collection system for past weather and view the data streams in a synchronous manner. In addition, the program consists of additional educational resources (e.g., a daily weather diary) to support the analysis of the data streams.

The development of a weather viewer prototype began in 2007 as a class project in the spring offering of Object-Oriented Software Engineering under the direction of Curt Jones (Computer Science) and Jeff Brunskill (Geosciences). From 2007 to 2014, 70 computer science students helped to design and develop the prototype. 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. The prototype is currently being tested and refined based on feedback from students enrolled in meteorology courses at Bloomsburg University.

The program is currently available for download, and we would appreciate both positive and negative feedback. Please send comments, questions and detailed descriptions of errors 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.

 

Funding:

  • 2013: Brunskill, J. C. (Co-PI) & Jones, C. (Co-PI). Bloomsburg University TALE Teacher-Scholar Awards. Bloomsburg Weather Viewer. $3,000.
  • 2010: Jones, C. (Co-PI), & Brunskill, J. C. (Co-PI). Bloomsburg University Grants for Research and Disciplinary Projects. Bloomsburg weather viewer. $9,873.
  • 2008: Brunskill, J. C. (PI). Sun Microsystems Academic Excellence Grant (AEG). Developing online resources to enhance weather observation in the classroom. $59,087.
  • 2006: Brunskill, J. C. (PI), Doll, H. (Participant), Phillips, T. (Participant), and Jones, C. (Participant). Bloomsburg University Foundation Margin of Excellence Grant.  Developing online resources to enhance weather observation in the classroom. $2,253.

 

The Weather Den | EGGS Department | Department of Computer Science | © 2014 Bloomsburg University