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Science Technology

Weather Radar Goes Miniature 167

Posted by michael
from the button-up-your-overcoat dept.
quackking writes "As reported today in the Boston Globe, the NSF has committed at least $17M to build out a new network of miniature (at least in comparison with today's monsters) weather radars. This is to radar what Beowulf clusters are to the mainframe; the scientists at U Mass Amherst project that eventually a weather radar node will be deployable for under $20K! Now to figure out how to get real-time access to this mesh of sensors and create a really cool screensaver..."
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Weather Radar Goes Miniature

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  • Super! (Score:1, Troll)

    by Deltan (217782)
    Maybe now when they call for sun it won't rain instead?
  • Heh... (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I, for one, welcome our new miniature weather radar systems.
    • I have to wonder (Not being familiar with radar entirely, will this cause problems with interference, having this many active radar systems going? Just asking out of curiousity.
    • And now to test my new perl script for auto posting "I, for one, welcome our new" $Subject
  • Weather Sensor Array (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xaroth (67516) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:09PM (#7096003) Homepage
    I've always thought that wide-spread weather research could be enhanced in an even lower-cost fashion. If basic sensor arrays (wind speed / direction, humidity, temperature, pressure, and whatever else you can fit in there) powered by solar panels could be deployed for less than $200 per station, you could litter the nation with them spaced out every couple of miles in a grid. Then, have them all phone home (they could repeat their own traffic to reduce reliance on other networks) to a high-powered computer (or via a distributed network, a la SETI@home) to determine weather patterns.

    Granted, low cost radars like this are a step towards getting high-resolution data for more areas, but something like what I've described could possibly help answer larger climate-related questions.
    • by TopShelf (92521) * on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:22PM (#7096117) Homepage Journal
      That's a great idea - but what about adding RFID sensors and face-recognition technology?

      Sincerely,
      John Ashcroft
      • That's a great idea - but what about adding RFID sensors and face-recognition technology?

        Face recognition with clouds. Now that sounds like fun:
        Latest sightings from RadarNet for the last 24 hours - date 24th December 2003:

        Date Time Lat Lon Duration Station Details Probability
        03/12/24 10:23 45E 45N 90 secs RDR-34 Mickey Mouse/Cumulus 100.00%
        03/12/24 14:45 95E 34N 3 mins RDR-94 Elvis/Stratus 55.95%
        03/12/25 00:01 54E 10N 2 mins RDR-72 Santa Claus/Cumulus 99.99%
        03/12/25 07:45 30E 43N 1 min R

    • by Sevn (12012) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:23PM (#7096134) Homepage Journal
      Wow, pretty insightful considering that's basically what's already happening. :) Although the reporting stations aren't every mile. That would be kinda overkill I think. When I was a weatherman (10 year ago), there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 550-600 reporting stations that did hourly weather observations syncronized with ZULU time, aka UTC, aka GMT. Some weather reporting stations are completely automated, but they are limited. There are some things like skycover and accurately representing highly variable conditions that an automated weather station simply can't do. Other than the hourly observations that are taken and disseminated, there are "special" observations that are taken when special conditions are met. I don't have an FMH-B handy, and I can't recall them all off the top of my head, but it's for things like radical changes in wind direction, speed, ceiling height, visibility, thunderstorm activity, etc. Most weather reporting stations are near airports because weather is very important for forcasting flight weather condition. That and a majority of weather stations are USAF or other military. All that data ends up in a system called AWDS (Automated Weather Distribution System) that has 3 super computing "hubs". If I'm not mistaken, two of them are here in the US, and one is in England. Those numbers are then turned into NGM's and GSM's and other Nested Gridded Models that are still not perfect and need corrected slightly by a good forecaster. With that data the 6 hourly forecasts are generated and issued so that local TV Weatherman can steal them and use them. I can remember one time in Deleware, we intentionally put a forecasted high temp for the day 6 degrees too high and watched 3 of the local channels quote it.
      • I can remember one time in Deleware, we intentionally put a forecasted high temp for the day 6 degrees too high and watched 3 of the local channels quote it.

        Now we know.
        Global warming is an artifact of weather service jokes.

      • I can remember one time in Delaware, we intentionally put a forecasted high temp for the day 6 degrees too high and watched 3 of the local channels quote it.

        Now we know you're lying. Delaware has 3 local broadcasters! Ha! Who would believe such hyperbole. We all know that Delaware is so small that a single antenna barely fits in the whole state.

        Nice try.

        -molo :)
        • :)

          "Delmarva" has a lot more then 3 local broadcasters. The entire area is called "DelMarVa" and kinda shares a bunch of em.

          You feel silly now doncha. The radio channel guys are the worst about blatantly lifting a TAF. The coolest thing about Deleware was having Joe, the guy that lived in the trailer at the beach, call us up to let us know when fog was rolling in. It made us look really good. It's hard to forecast fog accurately.
      • There are some things like skycover and accurately representing highly variable conditions that an automated weather station simply can't do.

        Couldn't skycover be done with a webcam pointing up, possibly with a fisheye lens to grab the entire "dome" of the sky? The image could be sent to a central office, and interpreted by trained personnel there. What other observations need a human presence?
        • :)

          When you are talking about the sky it works like this. Clouds are reported in layers based on sky coverage and height. Lets say I had 3/10ths of the sky covered by some stuff at 1000 feet, 3/10ths altocu at 9000 feet, and some highcloud1 at 25000. The sky coverage would look like this:

          10 SCT 90 BKN 250 BKN

          A webcam isn't going to be able to do that. :) Perhaps some futuristic steroscopic webcam with the most amazing resolution possible and intense contrast sensitivity.
      • Although the reporting stations aren't every mile. That would be kinda overkill I think.

        Firstly I'm not a weather man, but a long time ago I know some people who did do that kind of thing (well they were more programmers than meteorologists), but they were always crying out for more data. They didn't want the butterfly whos wings are setting off all those hurricanes but they definitely want finer grained data.

        The big problem is that a lot of the weather happens at sea. Apparently many ships have automa

        • Very true. You are pretty much stuck with PIREPS (Pilot Reports) for certain altitudes during flights across the "pond" to fill in the data gaps. You could request them with your written weather briefing and if the pilot felt like it, he'd call you on the radio and let you know what his instruments say. Things like icing and clear air turbulance were things we'd want the pilot to call us on.
          • I didn't mention the PIREPS, because these weren't apparently so interesting for medium or longer-term forecasting - unless they gave a section of atmosphere across many altitudes (ideally via a weather balloon). What I heard was the most interesting was around sea-level because it was the interface between sea and air where a lot of interesting things happen (like hurricanes brewing). The only long-term pheonomena that they wanted at altitude were the jet streams.

            Oh an satellites were great, but only for

      • would allow a better study of micro-climants, which would be interesting(IMHO).
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:25PM (#7096147) Homepage Journal
      It would be nice to space them like that, but I think two projects are in order. A low-resolution project, dumping them all over the globe, and high-resolution projects for areas of particular interest. In a particular area you might have them every quarter mile, and some places you might only have them... well, where's convenient to put them? I'd think you'd want to cover whole ridgelines but the faces of the mountain are not important, for example.

      I also think they should have GPS in them, so if they're moving, they can report accurately. This will let you put them on ships, buoys (tidal variation) and so on. Those GPS MOUSE usb gps devices are going for like fifty bucks on ebay, so how much can it cost to build them? Ten bucks? Twenty maybe? Well worth it in either case.

    • by 91stst (610832)
      This is already being done, at the moment not all states participating have made the data accessible. Here are a few that have.

      Oklahome Mesonet [ou.edu]

      West Texas Mesonet [ttu.edu]

      MesoWest [utah.edu]

      Note: The Texas Mesonets are particularly interesting during landfall of tropical cyclones!
    • A little math (Score:3, Informative)

      by Atario (673917)
      $17M divided by $20K = 850 sensors. Area of US is 9,629,091 sq km (according to the CIA [cia.gov]). That's 7,578,834 sq mi. That's one sensor per 8,916 sq mi (11,328 sq km). That's just over the area of New Jersey.

      Now, the sensors you propose, at $200 each, could get you 85,000 sensors for $17M. That's one sensor per 892 sq mi -- a bit smaller than Ocean County, NJ.

      Not quite "every couple of miles", but not too bad. Still, I'd have to think the radar might return more data points anyway, sweeping across the l
    • Well, it'd be NICE to do it for under $200, but as of right now, it's not QUITE possible

      You can setup a Moderately accurate temp and wind station for $79, BUT the temp sensor is enclosed (NOT vented), so it tends to read high, and you need a computer

      Look at AAG Electronics [aagelectronica.com]

      Adding humidity (which adds a more accurate thermometer), Pressure, and rain adds about $150

      There IS quite a network in North America, with SOME holes in it - look at NOAA's Mesonet [noaa.gov]

    • Take your sensor grid, scale it down to nano size, space it much, much more closely (i.e. every few centimeters in open air), have it capture electromagnetic spectrum data in addition to the weather stuff, and make it scan the surrounding area with radar / ultrasound and what do you have?

      I believe you have the way that post-humans will interact with the outside world when they choose to. Want to travel to Tokyo? Just start sampling the sensor grid there to and use it to drive your sensory inputs.

      Of cour
    • [weather sensors] powered by solar panels

      Uh... Isn't that like using your mail server to route messages to your pager to let you know that said mail server isn't working properly?
      (-:

      S
    • This is already done, to some extent, and the data is available on wunderground.com [wunderground.com].

      At last all the data is there. Someone ingenious can write an app to gather all that data and make some real-time weather maps ... if they haven't already.
    • Here is some shameless self promotion, but I believe it to be in line with what Xaroth is saying.

      The challenge to Xaroth's approach lies not in the deployment of these systems (if they're $200 a pop that's easy), but rather in the information harvesting and data collection. I can't imagine that everyone will own the same type of unit, and so how do you manage all these different protocols?

      I'm working on a project called WeatherNet (http://meta-tools.sf.net/wxnet) and I'm trying to solve the problem I've
  • Imagine (Score:1, Funny)

    by Sir Haxalot (693401)
    not having loads of Beowulf jokes for once?
  • This is to radar what Beowulf clusters are to the mainframe

    It's so clear now!
  • by Mulletproof (513805) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:11PM (#7096017) Homepage Journal
    "to build out a new network of miniature (at least in comparison with today's monsters) weather radars"

    But can you mod linux onto it? Failing that; In Soviet Russia, the weather radar miniturizes YOU.

  • Does this mean the public can get access to the Data? Yeah a Nice screen saver would be Awesome if you had realtime updated weather info, just a glance and see if you need a umbrella or not today, taken a step further, the smart house can now tell you what the hell is going on outside your house for the rest of the day or week. Maybe next step would be to route out stupid people sensor network, then you can plan your trips to avoid not only bad weather but dumb areas as well.
    • You can put up all the radar stations you want, and it's not going to help you predict the weather any better than they already do; i.e., about as well as you could just by making up the forecast with no data at all.
  • MOD THEM DOWN (Score:3, Insightful)

    by axxackall (579006) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:14PM (#7096037) Homepage Journal
    Oh, God! 10 comments and ALL 10 are silly jokes about Beowulf clusters. If we need a Beowulf cluster then that would be to scan /. traffic and filter such stupid jokes out.

    Can we at least install on /. some neural-network scanners that would mod all such obsolete jokes down?

    • How about this then?

      1. Install network of miniature radars
      2. ????
      3. Profit!

    • by warpSpeed (67927) <slashdot@fredcom.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:23PM (#7096129) Homepage Journal
      Oh, God! 10 comments and ALL 10 are silly jokes about Beowulf clusters. If we need a Beowulf cluster then that would be to scan /. traffic and filter such stupid jokes out.

      Can we at least install on /. some neural-network scanners that would mod all such obsolete jokes down?

      Perhaps a perl plugin module where you can upload your own filter code to prescan the comments....
      /. would probably need a cluster of some sort to run it though...

    • No kidding. Just about every article posted here for about the last year or two has had at least one "beowulf cluster" joke posted by some idiot. I didn't really find it all that funny the first time I saw one, and I most definitely don't find it funny now, which is probably around the 2,000th time I've seen the same damned joke. The sad thing is, I know a lot of the people who are posting these actually think they are being funny. They're like a 5-year-old kid who keeps on telling you the same knock-kn
      • Well, one or two jokes per first 10-20 comments is ok. But when ALL first 10 comments are the same stupid joke and my comment is the first one which is not - that's bad.

        There is spam in email, SMS and even NNTP but the society is somehow begin fighting against it using filters and laws. As for today the laws do not work, so we are filtering. The laws (karma one) do not work on /. either. So we need a filter for it.

  • Availability (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thedillybar (677116) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:14PM (#7096038)
    Let's hope that these resources will be widely available for research purposes and weather forecasting. I think this is a big step in understanding various weather systems, a science that is far from understood by anyone.

    Not long after this is implemented, I hope to see various news agencies provide not only forecasting based on information provided from the new equipment, but raw data (and maybe not-so-raw data...like images) as well.

    This could be a great resource for researchers and the slashdot crowd alike.
    • Let's also hope that bold text becomes more publicised and widely overused by all.
    • Re:Availability (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bridog (410044)
      NOAA provides a great deal of information for free already --- as they are a public service anyway, this only makes sense. It may not contain the precise details that you wish to research, but you can find information about the various forms of data, including ftp-accessible satellite data, at either of the following two sites: NWS Telecommunications Operations Center [noaa.gov], or the National Climatic Data Center [noaa.gov].
      • These folks [robomagic.com] have a great little utility (WIndows only, but...) that sits down in your system tray and will update itself as often as you like. I've been using it for 5 or 6 years now. There's a couple for *NIX as well (for the various GUI's, I don't know about the console or OS-X).

        Just thought I'd throw this out there.

  • Many benefits (Score:4, Informative)

    by Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:15PM (#7096052)
    I would imagine that the array would work quite well for several reasons.

    First of all, the amount of energy you have to use to send a signal decreases with distance squared. So covering an area with with several small radar stations should keep the working signal in the relatively strong range with less power consumption.

    Also, there will be a lot of overlap near the edges of the stations' zones, reducing anomolous readings through error checking. (This would have to be implemented. It wouldn't happen on its own.)

    And it also opens the door for the possibility of trasmitting signals from one station to the next instead of always waiting for the ping to come back. That could allow for new methods and better results and more accuracy.
    • Re:Many benefits (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nice try on the "distance squared... but it's far worse a scenario.

      Signal from Radar to Pulse Volume Space is related to distance squared... then a fraction of the energy is returned by impedence discontinuities in the pulse volume... then distance back also follows the inverse square law... so it's FAR worse than stated... that's why lots more of these puppies will be good news.
  • Home Brewed Radar? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moehoward (668736) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:16PM (#7096060)
    Has anyone home-brewed a radar system of any type? Is it possible? What could you do with it?

    • I would think that it would be relatively easy to do your own, though maybe it would not be powerful or especially accurate. You need to spin the radar element in a circle, and then generate a height field, plot it in a circle, and invert the image (well, it all depends on how you draw it in the first place I guess) so that the dark part is in the middle. Voila! Obviously there's a lot more to it than that but there are modules for this kind of thing so it is no longer necessary to invent it. You could also
    • Next week on slashdot: Homemade doppler radar using only an old microwave, an 802.11 WiFi card, a pringles can, a DirecTV dish, and a Linux box (and you will be able to download the GNU/radar source code). Now *that* would be "News for Nerds"!
      • That got me thinking. Wouldn't it be funny to rig something up that LOOKED like radar on top of your house. A DirectTV dish spinning around or something. Wonder what sorts of 3 letter agencies would show up.
      • by anubi (640541)

        "Next week on slashdot: Homemade doppler radar using only an old microwave..."

        You may be onto it. With mass production the way it is, I saw microwave ovens at Wal-Mart the other day, I think it was $39.95 or something like that. Now, these things have a 600 watt or more 2.45GHz magnetron and associated 3KV power supply in them. At that price? I don't know how they did it. But nevertheless, it shows the price points achievable with mass production.

        Now, you drive that maggie with a spread-spectrum code

    • you could dump the data to a pda and have an on-dash radar visual of the traffic surrounding your car.

      no more 'objects in mirrors' BS, folks lurking in your blind spot, or parking incidents...

      I suppose alternately you could mount it on your house and be the local lookout post for the foil-hat crowd...
    • 1 - Get Ham License 2 - Get an old Kustom Signals KR-10 (OLD Police speed/doppler Radar and detune to move it into ham bands) 3 - Build a rotary mount with position encoder enclose in large round ball using analog outputs from radar unit convert into convenient digital format for display/crunching with your favorite signal processing application. 4 - Weather Radar (or was that Profit!)
    • Maybe you could start with something like this [cox.net].

      A cool picture is here [cox.net].

    • "Has anyone home-brewed a radar system of any type? "

      A friend of my dad used to work on a ship many moons ago. He said that birds would fly in front of the radar and be cooked in mid-air.

      No, I've never home-brewed a radar system.
      • Those systems have tremendous range. Incidentally, I had a housemate who was a radar/sonar technician and he said that he used to throw hot dogs up in front of the thing and they'd come down cooked. Also, that you could aim them (presumably smaller radars) at guys coming up the docks with flourescent tubes and light them up. (In more ways than one, I guess.)

        However, they have assorted small radars for use on small craft, which are not powerful enough to cook you, but they're nothing you'd want to be trans

  • by antic (29198) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:19PM (#7096098)

    Err, if you want a really cool screensaver, look out a window -- wind effects, sky, clouds -- all in real-time. Amazing, and not $17m!

    • I don't use Windows.
    • Err, if you want a really cool screensaver, look out a window -- wind effects, sky, clouds -- all in real-time. Amazing, and not $17m!

      Now imagine a window large enough to see the entire USA. All without breaking or distorting and a chair in the right position to see it all - Priceless!
  • by CKW (409971) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:21PM (#7096107) Journal
    Now to figure out how to get real-time access to this mesh of sensors and create a really cool screensaver...

    Hmmm, you know, p2p would be the perfect way to distribute said data among all the people who need access to it (if it was a screensaver and so popular and contained realtime feed...)

    • p2p is illegal.

      I dont need to mention who is going to sue you for you know what violation.

      But it would be kinda sweet to have a whole weather data system available. Kinda like weather.com
      • I can never tell if people are being serious when claiming that p2p itself is illegal. It's sounds too stupid to be serious, but at the same time people are dragging human stupidity to new depths and probably believe such nonsense.
  • Missing the Point... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cap'n Canuck (622106) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:23PM (#7096130)
    Beowulf jokes aside, I think the editors and other posters are missing the point here. The NSF is putting up $17M of a total of $40M, the rest to be made up from private industries (like Raytheon) and public institutions. That's like, I don't know, less than half.

    With the private companies coming on, you can bet that there's more than just weather radar applications, though that's not a bad place to start. Still, you've got to wonder why Raytheon would pump $5M into it if there wasn't something in it for them...

    • Doesn't Raytheon make the Patriot Missile? Maybe this is a new missile warning detection system that Raytheon is doubling as a weather thingy.
      • Raytheon makes numerous missile systems, and of course the targeting systems that go with them.

        They are currently working on a missle system called claws. The system is an air defence system and ideally deployed from the back of 2 HMMWV's one to carry the missle system and one to carry a small radar/guidence system.... hmmmmm
    • you've got to wonder why Raytheon would pump $5M into it if there wasn't something in it for them...

      Raytheon makes the most radar systems in the U.S.. They make most of the radar systems in boats and in the planes you fly in as well as those at the airport. Who else would you want to make them?

      I'm not sure Raytheon could make radars that do more than track weather for ultra-cheap (relatively). Radars are very specifically designed for different purposes. It would involve some heavy software relianc
  • biological attack? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Porthwhanker (708730)
    If successful, the new technology could also be used to track the low-level winds that could carry a biological, chemical, or radiological attack.

    What's the point if the system can't detect the biological/chemical element in question? Even if they knew where the element was released, and they could track the low-level winds, I doubt they could accurately predict how it would disperse. Even with more accurate & detailed data, the weather is a very chaotic and unpredictable system. But at least we'll b
    • They will both be better able to know where they must deploy people to test for the spread of the agent, and to better model how an agent would spread were it released in likely locations, for damage containment planning.
  • by Cyclopedian (163375) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:26PM (#7096161) Journal
    The article is not clear, but it sounds like they may be using a new radar technology called Phased Array. It works like doppler, except that instead of the mechanical motor needed to move the dish to scan the area, it scans the area electronically, completing an entire scan in one minute to Doppler's 5 minutes or 8 minutes.

    Another benefit of phased radar array is that the scanning speed can be upgraded with better computer equipment with higher bandwidth and number crunching capabilities.

    -Cyc
    • A couple of years back, there were some white pages on the user of PAR type systems, but NOAA had shot its wad on the current NEXRAD system. Clunky, fulla bugs than a winXP system, but at least it gets the job done..

      To implement PAR would mean a cost-savings on the sum of several million on maintenance. The mechanical plant would be reduced to the gantry used to do exterior work on the panels whenever necessary. And on the upshot, there would be graceful degredation, when a element would fail, the other e
    • http://www.oarhq.noaa.gov/congress/FY2003/OnePager s/Phased%20Array%20Radar.pdf

      Shamless plug for the 2004 FY proposal.. I wish them luck!

  • by BinBoy (164798)
    Does UNATCO know about this?
  • by Weird_one (86883)
    hey, a question for those with more knowledge than me.

    Would it be possible to have the individual nodes of the array be cell phone towers using the existing signals they are constantly transmitting for use in radar imaging. I understand the wavelength is different, but would cell phone length waves still interfere enough to return a proper reading?

    just a thought of using a existing setup for data.
  • Wont a mass cluster of radars actually heat up the atmostphere and thus change the weather and fry pigeons? Also what if some evil mastermind went around focusing each node on one spot in the sky and at the right moment fired them off to either shoot down planes or make some sort of inter-dimensional time warp that would lead to a shoot-em-up style 3d game plotline?
  • It would be great to give those eyesores an additional purpose.
  • Parasitic radar (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XNormal (8617) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:50PM (#7096380) Homepage
    I've heard of radars that receive at a different location from that where the signal is transmitted. Such radars are known as a bistatic radars. Some of them even use existing existing radiation sources such as TV stations.

    I wonder if it's practical for a network of weather radars. A receive-only radar should be cheaper and have less regulatory hurdles to jump.
    • "Bistatic radars" are cool, aren't they?

      Completely covert.

      If you want an example of one working, just connect rabbit ears to your TV. Tune in a local station, and walk around the room. Note your presence and location in the room has an effect on the image on the screen, and by standing in certain locations, you can often disrupt the beam so badly the set barely receives a usable signal at all.

      I have seen this same technique used for detecting the presence of people in stores after closing. The thing

  • I guess the fact that the newspost speaks about Beowulf clusters, was only put there to make all those beowulf cluster jokes on topic!
  • Everytime there is something strange like the phoenix lights, the shuttle crash, and mysterious plane crashes, the weather radar becomes a very interesting resouce. In some cases, it has been reported that the radar is mysteriously not available. It's taken, and then re-released back to people with the right permissions to see it.

    New Mexico has flight radar, I don't know what the difference is, but either way, enabling radar in a backyard size package is interesting to say the least.
  • It just occured to me that 802.11 IIRC runs on a similear frequency to weather radar (at least those that are running on 2.4 GHz). Could you build a 802.11(letter) station with an ultra sensitive reciever, and while transmitting, look for echo returns and figgure out distance, and from there extrapulate some data. Obviously you would need some triangelation with other nearby stations to figgure out where things are (the antennas are not directional or moving so you would just get a return "there is someth

  • Well, now we know one more thing to be included in future "Ultimate Geek Cars".
    • I will absolutely be including a small portable weather station in my car. It will need to be deployed of course, but I have a sunroof, so it can be suction cup. The PC is going in shortly...
  • If this goes worldwide it will have a serious impact on stealth technology.

    Think about it for a second.

    Stealth planes rely on their low radar cross section. With a gigantic weather array broadcasting a signal from all possible angles at least one of those dishes is going to catch that stealth aircraft on its wide side.

    Detecting the plane will just be a matter of looking for the anomolies.
  • Spotting dangerous thunderstorms and helping find tornadoes as early as possible. If they help predict if will rain on your picnic, that's a bonus.
  • by PineHall (206441) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:35PM (#7096809)
    This radar array sounds nice but I think there is a lot of hype in the article. A more low tech solution to collecting rainfall data and other weather data is to use a community of volunteers. There is in Colorado such a community. The Community Collaborative Rain and Hail Studyi [cocorahs.org] (and Snow too) provides an unique way to study weather in Colorado.
  • OpenGIS (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The data could be made available to the public through a Web Map Server following the Open GIS Consortium specs OpenGIS.org [opengis.org].

    This data could then be incorporated into your own personal Web enabled apps utilizing an open source product like U of MN Mapserver [umn.edu]
  • As in UMass Amherst, now if we could only get money for things like professors.

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