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Internet of Things App: Weather / Stormtrack

The Internet of Things is basically a brave new world concept for crazy ideas like connecting your Refrigerator to the Internet so you know how much it's costing you or to let you know when somethings needs work. En Masse manufacturers can collect realtime failure data and respond to them proactively. Improve energy efficiency of future models based on real world data sets. Track regional habits of consumers. In the not so distant future your fridge might tell you what you are low on, let you know when your sister in law visited and drank right from the jug, and even send you a grocery list as soon as you walk into your favorite grocery store.

I have a long list of wants and wishes from a cross platform weather chasing specific app that doesn't really seem to exist as far as I know. Pieces do but not the whole. But I didn't want to stop there and really I'm looking at an internet of things concept. Your stream, your phone, and your mesonet station are all feeding the same data collection points. This is just spitballing or brainstorming. But in the end, I'd really like to see someone begin to tackle and app for this to really get this going. I've spent years thinking about this idea but I don't have time to learn the level of programming needed to make it happen.

Some of these features could be implemented now, or are already in place but in a disconnected way. Some of these features are looking at now to about 10 years. Some of these features directly replace Stormtrack, or IS Stormtrack, rather. But it's also Spotter Network on steroids. This is an excellent opportunity to flame like heck but I hope this inspires someone to start this project! Some of these ideas are radical to some i expect. Lively discussion? More ideas? Anyone want to make a bunch of money maybe?

I deem this app "Convergence" for what it is, and what it will likely do, or what it will help you avoid :p

  • Discussionspace
    [**]Calendar interface for discussion by Forecast day. View by "Winter" "Hurricane" "SevereWx" "Reports"
    [***]Upvote-downvote a specific forecast that day up to a week ahead. (Forecasts can be split regionally, by synoptic event, or to split mixed weather modes) Buzzfeed style voting. common tags "Lame" "Convergence Central" "Outbreak potential" "Too many forecast problems" Change your vote as you go. Maybe Each day's general forecast is a discussion thread automatically. Non event days are deleted. ALL users are encouraged to forecast, even with simple tags. Days with discussions are archived and moved to "Reports" database Users get experience/contribution/peer (Reddit Karma) review points. Posts are weighted by reputation. Forecast flaming community moderated (hide/spam).
    [**]General Weather topics
    [**]Off topic/Chat

  • Socialspace
    [**]Find spotter network and app users nearby geographically
    [**]Check In's (I'm eating lunch at Sonic, Salina, KS) (At the Holiday Inn Bar in Wichita Falls)
    [**]Chaser/Spotter Bio's / Facebook / Twitter connections
    [**]Weather Wiki's with discussions. Rather than thread topics buried in archives, "Rear Flank Downdraft" or "Storm Chasing Etiquette" is a wiki created by experts with discussion. Users can subscribe to a topic, discuss it, or contribute.

  • Realtime
    [**]Google/Apple/Yahoo Maps underlay. Storm spotter network dots. NOAA/Spotter Weather reports. NOAA Radar/Sat overlay with basic scans.
    [**]Call, text, Facetime, PM spotters/app users directly from map.
    [**]App recognizes relative distance to other chasers on same storm. Shout out to nearby chasers, canned or custom messages to other users nearby. "Wall Cloud" "It's happening!" "Severe hail" "Major Structural Damage" "Emergency Services Needed" "Flat tire on E Route 22, Ride needed, Send msg" "Lost GoPro here" Alerts and alert levels configurable. My thinking here goes beyond well "weather alerts"
    [***]NOAA/NHC/NWS/SPC access to user weather data and alert data near storm (Filter out non-weather or non chaser specific data)
    [**]Convergence warnings. Configurable user density alerts or heavy app participation in area.
    [**]Realtime road data. Quickly flag a road for poor conditions. Roads on overlay turn "yellow" "orange" etc. "red" for storm damage.
    [***]Usable by participating law enforcement and Road Commissions
    [**]Red alert / Panic button. Alert chasers nearby that things have gone completely belly up in an area for yourself or the community.
    [**]Geographic image sharing ("Here's what the inflow notch looks like", "Check out this corepunch!" "Structure on this one!". Links watchable streaming connections.
    [**]User inserted or 3rd party connections for Weather and mesonet input. Wind Speed and Direction, dT, T. etc. Automatically feeds other users with critical real time data from other chasers. Recognize/diagnose minor scale features relative to storms. Storm spotters display weather data.
    [***]Here's where things get interesting... "What If" this data gets fed to real time models, or is used to fine tune long range?
    [***]Extensible hardware and plugins for bringing everything from Cell Phone towers, cars, homes, Planes, boats, trains, etc. for feeding real time weather data.

  • Breadcrumbs
    [**]Log route, timestamps, compare location vs radar scans, real time weather data along journey. Learn from your mistakes, show off how lucky/smart you were.
    [**]Audio/Text Journal entries. See an entire chase from community perspective hours after it's finished. Imagine experiencing the entire El Reno event from 100's of angles in linear fashion within hours.
    [**]Capture and gather screenshots, photos from other apps with timestamps. (Grab that Radarscope frame or forecast sounding on the fly and make it a journal entry)
    [**]Automatically Record and save (Timelapse) timestamped radar/sat images during chase.

So if you've followed me this far in my "panacea" One could theoretically See realtime discussion of an event. Each chaser has his/her own log of an event. Has access to real time and post mortem community discussions. Data, streams, comments, events, and alerts are pooled to see an entire event as it unfolded. Quickly find chase partners or friends to meet up before or after an event. Law enforcement, Paramedics, Road commissions, Meteorologists, and Media have real time situational awareness through an individualized volunteer based effort.

You've probably thought of 87 different ways to abuse this too. I have plenty of problems with this and I have great ideas on how to deal with abusers too. I don't think that this is going to be something that may or may not happen, I think is going to be more of a "when" it happens. Will the good people here be involved when it does in a grassroots open source fashion, or will it be a bunch of suits in DC in top down bureaucratic order who can't even build a half working online store front for less than 2 billion dollars.
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If you've got a young lady in your family that is interested in STEM and wants to run with an idea like this one above: http://iotchallenge-cisco.younoodle.com/

The IoT World Forum Young Women’s Innovation Grand Challenge is a global innovation challenge open to young women between the ages of 13-18. The aim of the challenge is to recognize, promote, and reward young innovators as they come up with new uses for Internet of Things technologies.

What is a problem you see today or expect to emerge in the next 5 years? ............The Challenge: Your goal is to come up with new ideas on how technologies from the Internet of Things can improve education, healthcare, manufacturing, energy, retail, transportation, smart cities or find new solutions that can cut through many industries.

The team or individual with the best entry will win $20,000

There are 4 second-place prizes for teams or individuals of $10,000

There are 5 third-place prizes for teams or individuals of $5,000
It is interesting to consider the impact on weather forecasting from the converging trends of mobile, the "Internet of Things," and crowd sourcing. Could every mobile phone, every car, become a weather data collection site? Hard to imagine how the phone data would be rationalized for being in someone's pocket, or if that someone happened to be near a bonfire... But an interesting concept nonetheless. There are already weather apps that use crowd sourcing to aggregate weather reports. We are already leveraging greater connectivity in the "weather infrastructure" with things like the emergency alert bulletins on cellphones during severe weather events. Hard to imagine a particular "invention" to bring this all together in an optimal way (otherwise it would be invented already! :) ). Seems like more of an overall infrastructure type of thing that will evolve like the cell networks did.
Collecting data right from the cell phone might be a challenge at best unless it was manual user input... however bluetooth based mesonet type hardware that connects to the phone in an extensible way would be what I'm hoping for. The hardware itself might actually be what connects directly. Even better, I'd hope It didn't matter. For instance, a weather station at home, at a school, on a car, or boat would home that data back...Each with an IP address on your local network or personal WAN. Weatherbug has actually been doing something like this but only on a static wide scattered scale. The key to collecting the data is getting the right hardware in the end user's hands. When you think about connected homes with programmable thermostats and lighting, Knowing what the weather is up to is an important contributing data point for that connected home. Smart vehicles that react to weather conditions (And already connect to a cell phone to give feedback), Cellular and radio towers where signal varies depending on weather, Gardens and farms, and planes that have finely tuned instrumentation that can be homed back. Imagine if we knew what happened to that AirAsia flight simply based on the weather parameters it experienced at the time of failure (Obviously we'd know more if planes were connected at all times). If an end user is already purchasing weather kits for personal use or a specific use case outside of storm chasing and meteorology....we just need to convince these users that their data is important to science and safety of others and worth sharing. This particular aspect of this sort of project is merely defining the standards and the use cases to serve these needs before they are developed.

There are a couple ways to reduce the challenge of collecting data right from the cell phone. For instance, it needs to "know" that it is outside of a house and outside of your pocket or purse...Perhaps it does this by combination of GPS, time, and photovoltaic charge. On the cloud side, eliminating outliers would help. Either way this particular use seems like a stretch of the imagination.
Well if you ever figure all this out and decide to go to market, let me know if you need a business partner I am not an inventor, technologist or meteorologist, but I am a financial guy, and have been dreaming about being in a weather-related business for years!

The problem is, is there a market for this? Who is the customer, i.e., who is willing to pay for this?? It would have to be either the government investing in the "weather infrastructure," or one of the big private forecasting companies believing it can improve its forecasts enough - thereby improving its own sales/profits - to justify investing in this kind of infrastructure. And it is an "infrastructure," hard to imagine one particular product that would be in demand unless the infrastructure already existed - maybe kind of a "chicken and egg" thing???
I'm not sure I have the right skill set to do more than have ideas! I need some people who not only have money but have the know-how to make the software and the apps. I will say this, Back in 1998 I got my first digital camera. I accurately predicted the DSLR would completely take over the high end camera market 10 years before it happened and everyone then thought I was nuts. That same year I predicted today's equivelant of smart phone with internet access over the air would be in every hand in the country. It made sense....Digital cameras, GPS, PDA's, cell phones, Portable video game systems....All in one device. My next prediction from about 2005 has yet to come but is just on the verge...I'm waiting for desktops and laptops to be completely replaced by something similar equivalent of Apple AirPlay. "Docking" stations for your cell phone at your office, home office, etc, will just display your phone screen...Your "dock" will have video output to any screen, wireless keyboard and mouse, etc. In other words I envision the end of the HDMI cable and the end of laptops and desktop computers. I also have a crazy idea about today's economy...So many things have been, or soon will be replaced by your cell phone that it's actually showing up as a stunted GDP---While the cost of living and the need for "things" will actually will go down.... More telecommuters means less cars.... Less stuff means smaller homes and more people per household...Less energy use...Fewer gadgets and fewer moving parts means less cost of living and fewer physical jobs. But that's the end of my fun tin foil hat speil.

Here's how to make money...
1) The mobile specific app features would have a small charge to use specifically for storm chasers and weather enthusiasts.
1a) Every day users or casual use of desktop software could be paid for by advertising.
2) Selling data to government, corporations, media and Insurance.
3) Selling application or vertical specific weather gathering hardware. Home versions of weather hardware sell for $80 or so. Application specific hardware would run more expensive...Customers would include Airlines, Telecom, Energy, Government, Other transportation. Consumer versions of vehicle based systems could be sold directly to auto manufacturers and retrofit kits for end consumers. (Auto manufacturers can use weather data in crash diagnostics, or determine maintenance schedules, Navigation systems can account for weather conditions etc)
4) Integrator kits. Basically if someone has an idea or a use case and wants to make something happen, just use a raspberry pie like hardware running ready-to-use code, that can be flown, sunk, launched, or driven anywhere you want or left behind wherever needed----Top of mount Everest or a deep sea trench---NASA Rocket, Commericial space plane, or a dock on someone's private island....Whatever works.