(Picture of a Sparkfun weather station)
For this project, we wanted to be able to post data online to engage the community and participate in citizen science initiatives, along with being as low maintenance as possible.
Ideally the smart roof deck garden will be able to decide whether or not to water itself based on current and upcoming weather. If you take a look at our first post on sensors, you see other reasons why we want hyper local data about the garden. We also want to participate in citizen science initiatives, and be able to check the conditions in the garden remotely. In order to do these things, we needed to find a home weather station that could help us track the weather in addition things like soil moisture and temperature that are capabilities we were already working on. For our purposes, we wanted a station that could track air temperature, wind, barometric pressure, light, and humidity.
We researched several types of weather stations and read blog posts about the pros and cons identified by other users. A New York Times article suggested a few websites that carry the most popular systems. We found the article to be very helpful and we visited the websites that were suggested. At first, it seemed that Acurite Systems were the most popular and practical. Several other websites we visited advertised Acurite weather stations. However, with further research, we discovered that although they are high quality, they would not work for us because they failed to measure barometric pressure. Many of the other systems we looked at, like Oregon Scientific and La Crosse Technology stations, measure wind, temperature and humidity but we had to look more carefully for measurements of barometric pressure. We finally came across a home weather station that covered all of our necessities from Ambient Weather. It measures wind, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure and even rainfall. This system goes beyond what we wanted because it is able to export data to Wunderground which can help us track and record the data.
After a bit more digging, we happened upon a tutorial from one of our favorite sites, Sparkfun, on creating a home weather station that connects to Wunderground. We dutifully ordered the parts and started setting up our own version.