Rajeev Jha, Founder & Director, Yuktix Technologies
The Open Weather Project is the largest citizen-run network of weather stations in India. It was developed by Yuktix Technologies in response to the fact that unlike the cities in Europe and North America, Indian cities lack good local weather data. Imported weather stations are expensive and support is poor. In addition, it is very difficult to obtain data from stations run by government agencies.
The company had developed a “generic” sensor data acquisition device that can operate on solar, battery or AC power. It has GSM/GPRS, Ethernet, RS485 and ZigBee communication options. It comes with firmware and out-of-the-box cloud connectivity, enabled by a Telit modem, which meant that gathering data from sensors is a real plug and play proposition. In order to create solar powered automatic weather stations all we had to do was add weather sensors to the device instead of doing the development from scratch.
We are using Telit GL868 V2 GPRS modules inside the stations. We chose the GL868 because it provides a good price-to-performance ratio and tests showed that it generated a better signal than its competitors. In addition the Python engine provides a good way to process asynchronous events via SMS.
The company initiated the Bangalore Open Weather Project in 2014 and currently it comprises a network of twelve weather stations, each collecting critical information such as temperature, humidity, rain and in some cases other variables like wind speed from various Bangalore locations. Data from these stations is sent to a server every three minutes, where it is processed, and the resulting information enables citizens and climate researchers to get open access to weather and microclimate data. It paves the way for weather dialogue and discourse about improving the quality of life in the city.
These sensors collect environmental data every 15 seconds and up to 12 samples are taken for each transmitted reading. They provide data on par with the standards set by the IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) and the World Meteorological Organization.
The same station can also become an air quality or water quality station by adding different sensors. Therefore they can serve as a ready-to-deploy template for smart cities and urban monitoring.
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