Archive for Environment


Weatherometer instantly shows changing weather conditions.  It uses small sensors to monitor wind and temperature every second and lights up a strip of 160 LEDs.  While you can’t always see and feel temperature and winds changing – with Weatherometer you continuously see weather’s tiny changes.

Videos: [mediagrid cat="42" filter="0" r_width="auto"]

Pictures: [mediagrid cat="36" filter="0" r_width="auto"]

I created Weatherometer to:

  • Experiment with small sensors
  • Learn how to program LED ribbons
  • Find another way to display weather data using colored lights

In addition, a colleague recently talked about re-envisioning city infrastructure as a platform for building smart, connected, informed cities.  So what about “hacking a light pole” to turn it into a self contained weather reporting station?  This is the start; I’m working on the next version that’s smaller, with fewer wires.

Technology used:

  • Arduino Uno – to control the LEDs, temperature, and winds sensors
  • 5 meters of digitally addressable RGB LED ribbon with 160 LEDs (Adafruit)
  • Temperature and humidity sensor (RHT sensor)
  • Wind sensor: a thermal “hot-wire” anemometer (senor from Modern Devices)
  • 5V 10A power supply (link)
  • Video of the components (link)

What do you think?  Want one?  Comment below……


Each spring and summer, hundreds of storm chasers, thrill-seekers, vacationers, and scientists search for nature’s wrath.  CharserTracer is a visual animation piece showing chasers’ movements as they traverse the midwest seeking twisters.  While over-hyped chaser TV shows like Storm Chasers show a heavily edited micro-view of storm chasing, I wanted to create an eye-in-the-sky view of how chasers chase.

Watch the swarming, dispersing, and migrating patterns of storm chasers in these animations:

2 Days in June    (101 sec – 720p, image)

Chaser Tracer - 2 Days in June

30 Days in May    (203 sec – 720p, image)

ChaserTracer - 30 Days in May

Monthly Traces    (49 sec – 720p, image)

ChaserTracer - Montly Traces

What insights into storm chasing can you glean from these animations?  Post feedback and suggestions.

I created ChaserTracer with data from Spotter Network, who shared 7 months of 1-second GPS data from 100′s of chasers.  (Much thanks to Spotter Network.)  Storm damage reports from tornadoes, winds, and hail were obtained from NOAA.  I also created ChaserTracer to learn how to plot location data with Processing, made easier by the Unfolding library.  Audio help from Kevin Snyder.

Technology used:

  •   Processing software – a great data processing and display language.  Want the program? Just email me.
  •   Unfolding  – powerful and easy-to-use mapping library
  •   Chaser data from Spotter Network
  •   Damage reports from NOAA
  •   Audio tracks via GarageBand
  •   Map backgrounds from Microsoft


WeatherDots – A year’s worth

How do you show a year’s worth of weather data in one, simple-to-interpret image?   WeatherDots.  This image, created with the WeatherDots method, shows all 8,760 hourly observations at the NWS weather site in Santa Rosa, CA during 2009.  


A column shows one day’s weather conditions with color, shape, and orientation.   Hourly weather readings control the shape’s appearance.  Calm winds create a circle.  As the wind blows circles change to ovals that are oriented by the wind direction.  Color corresponds to temperature values.  A green ring shows it’s raining.  Decoder here: key.

Technolology used: 

© DataTechArt 2010