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Weather Display Live in Education


The use of Weather Display and Weather Display Live
on a school’s weather station website

At Maiden Erlegh Secondary School in Reading, Berkshire in the UK we are lucky enough to have our very own automated weather station – a wireless Davis Vantage Vue. It was set up in November 2009 and has been streaming data ever since.

Originally the weather pack came with the free software ‘WeatherLink’ and an ip logger that meant that we could upload data to the free Davis webpage without having a PC running 24/7, due to safety and the fact that spare PC and monitors were hard to get hold of on our tight budget. I learnt lots of php code and tried to scrape the weather data from the Davis webpage. It looked ok and I developed an image that had live data and a forecast that was used on the front of our school’s homepage. This created strong links with the community as many papers and local councils used the forecast on their site too. The station’s page had over 4,000 hits in January 2010, with the local community expecting snow to grind the country to a halt (again!).

In the two years since setup, I have been looking around for something that does the job for me. I was continually tweaking complex php code and resetting the software when it locked. I discovered Weather Display and also Weather Display Live. The price was great and the support given in the weather-watch.com forum was excellent. I asked a many questions about what WD could and couldn’t do. I checked that I could convert our historic data from Weatherlink to WD and that it would run seamlessly without any extra effort. In January I made the jump.

Since then, over the last few months I have fully integrated WD and WDL into our school’s weather page. I have included a few examples of images that are auto generated and uploaded without me touching a button. I find that the logger has not crashed as much as it did previously (in fact, touch wood, not at all yet!).

I also run an after school weather club for 11-13 year olds, who investigate all things meteorological. We make models, visit primary schools, do experiments and invite guest speakers from the Uk MetOffice in to talk about various topics. The pupils really are impressed with the new features and graphics that WD and WDL has to offer. They regularly use the data to make forecasts and analyse past trends. I have had a couple of emails from members of the public who are very impressed with the site and have found it extremely useful. I would thoroughly encourage any teacher to price up an automated weather station – by all means investigate grant schemes or money allocated to Science or Technology in your school or from your local education authority or council. We were fortunate to find funds from our STEMNET (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) budget. Do shop around and don’t be afraid to ask questions before you buy. If I had the chance again and knew what I do now, I certainly would have purchased both WD and WDL from day one.

The Maiden Erlegh School weather webpage can be found at
http://www.school-portal.co.uk/GroupHomepage.asp?GroupID=910590

Any further questions, please contact Martin Sutton, Geography teacher at Maiden Erlegh at
sn@maidenerlegh.wokingham.sch.uk

Maiden Erlegh WDL screen shot



So now you know what Weather Display Live can do!

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