Linux-driven hyper-local weather reporting and tracking

Recently, while wandering my local department store, I stumbled across several inexpensive home weather stations mixed in among the thermometers and such. Intrigued, I read the packaging carefully, noted the features, prices, and manufacturer (of whom I'd never heard, of course) in my notebook, and forgot about it.

My interest was piqued because I had once (several years back) written some custom-built RRD Tool-based scripts that scraped the Environment Canada Weather Office Last 24 Hours trends table, parsing out temperature, humidity, pressure data and feeding this to personal webpages graphing the trends over weeks and months.

This was all part of a personal experiment testing a hunch that certain weather patterns triggered my body in various ways. In time, I became accustomed to "sensing" the weather in my body and (mostly) getting what I needed to compensate, and so the tool fell into disuse, and eventually broke when the Weather Office website was redesigned. Nonetheless, I've always imagined that someday I'd setup a better rig for this type of monitoring, including a hyper-local data source (ie. my own weather station), and an easy way to access/process the data from my home linux workstation. Seeing how cheap consumer-grade tech like the BIOS Weather stations being sold at my local retailer triggered me to re-investigate this possibility from a Linux perspective.

BIOS Weather

My first line of inquiry (googling the details I'd written in my notebook) led me to BIOS Exactly from which I had to extract an inside link from the HTML source to get any further, since I couldn't find anywhere to click on the splash page.

At first glance, the details on the product pages of the BIOS Exactly website seem excellent, and for the average (windoze) user they are most likely a perfectly good option. At a closer look, however, I must conclude that a dedicated Linux user like myself, would probably have better luck following another path, of which I quickly uncovered several.

(Note: I did run across a half-decent-looking Mac Weather Station software which seems to work with at least one model of the BIOS devices. But Mac's not good enough for me ;)

And then comes Linux...

Digging a little further, I found a couple decent Linux-friendly options:

  • Davis Vantage Pro Weather Station on Linux is a meticulously documented project which uses a Vantage Pro device made by a company called Davis. This is extremely cool, and very DIY, and if not for some even more exciting possibilities, I might have stopped right here. Also, they cost $495USD.
  • One Wire Weather is a much larger project, working with a whole variety of "1 Wire" devices including those from AAG Electronica and Maxim. The AAG kit which includes the WSI603A weather instrument is noted on the OWW Hardware page as "working". And this one costs only $98USD!

In the end, it seems that both options are somewhat more involved than the easy, low-budget turnkey solution from the local store. I suppose that this is exactly what I was hoping for, since part of the reason I'm a linux geek is exactly the curiosity that makes me want to understand how this little piece of tech is giving me all this data, just as much as I want to actually visualize and analyze the data itself ;)

In the meantime, I am grateful to know there are a handful of truly Open possibilities in this area, at least. Do you know of any more? Leave a comment or contact me.