Author Topic: FYI: PWSweather data used by location services  (Read 1670 times)

elagache

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FYI: PWSweather data used by location services
« on: April 05, 2012, 09:47:09 PM »
Dear WeatherCat fans,  [cat]

I was trying to hunt down an upload API for PWSweather.com and came across instead the Aeris Weather API.  After poking around a little, I realized that data submitted to PWSweather is being used to provide folks with weather info on the go via various Internet location services.

Folks are understandably a little nervous about others knowing their location without explicit consent.  This situation raises that bar a little further.  Now you might have someone in your area making decisions based on what your weather station reports - whether or not your station is actually functioning properly.  Services like PWSweather have no "standby mode" so you can't inform the service when your station is down and its data should be ignored.  So you could conceivably get folks into trouble without knowing it simply because you had to do some maintenance on your station.

I've written up more details on this posting on MacWeather: http://www.macweather.net/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=565.  It is just something we all should think about.  It is cool to have data submitted to all these places.  However, the companies collecting that data will use it to make a profit, and that may not be in our best interest.

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

elagache

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All clear - I was mistaken (Re: FYI: PWSweather data)
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2012, 09:42:00 PM »
Dear WeatherCat fans,  [cat]

There was a reply on MacWeather.net from one of the developers of the Aeris Weather API explaining how the system actually works.  You can read it here:

http://www.macweather.net/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=565#p3184

He claims that we should not have any privacy fears when our location is pinpointed by the services used by HAMweather and that only National Weather Service official stations are used in reporting weather data.  So our submissions are not potentially getting folks into trouble.

There is just one fly in the ointment.  HAMweather reports weather conditions for locations where . . . . National Weather Service doesn't actually have a reporting station.  This is something I have long suspected.  Somehow conditions are being interpolated at locations where an official station doesn't exist.  I'm sure this is fairly commonplace but . . . . that doesn't mean it is very accurate! 

As a case in point here is what HAMweather reported as weather near to me:



The actual temperature at my Davis VP-2 at the time of visiting HAMweather . . . . 62.4˚F!!

There ought to be a really great advertising opportunity for Davis Instruments in there somewhere!!  [wink]

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]