AWOS/ASOS density

Dan Robinson

What determines where an ASOS/AWOS station is located? I know the system is mainly airport-based, but there are many airports without them. The density of these stations is very irregular across the USA, and with the exception of the mesonets in the Plains, there seems to be no rhyme nor reason as to where they are placed. There are large surface data holes in places you'd think they would be beneficial (like north Texas and western Kansas).
AWOS systems are placed by the states individually, some (IA) blanket their area, others (Indiana) decide they aren't worth the money.
The NWS in Burlington, VT contacted me about the details of my weather station in Whiting, VT. They stumbled onto the data via WeatherUnderground. My weather station now fills a large data void in the Champlain Valley and the NWS finds this information quite useful.

Its no ASOS, but apparently the NWS finds the data reliable enough to help improve their forecasts.

On top of that they regularly use my webcam.