New Website Shows Live Webcam Images of Local Weather Conditions
Mon, 04/06/2009 - 12:00am
As a possible April snowstorm approaches, eyes are turned to the sky. Now weather buffs won't have to look out the window to get a glimpse of regional weather, thanks to a new weather watching Web site created by staff and student researchers at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at UNC Asheville. The Web site, http://www.weatherwebcams.org, gives viewers access to images from dozens of local webcams, showing nearly real time weather in more than 100 locations across North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia.
The site's images are collected from public Web sites including sites maintained by amateur weather enthusiasts, ski resorts, the U.S. Forest Service, the state Department of Transportation and real estate companies. These images can provide critical verification of inclement weather, including snow and ice accumulation on roads, flooding or dangerously foggy conditions. Weatherwebcams.org provides geospatial context, linking Google Maps icons to each webcam to show its exact location on a map, complete with information on the webcam's elevation, direction and image refresh rate.
RENCI at UNC Asheville researchers Greg Dobson and Todd Pierce, with help from students, created the site by combining a Google Application Program Interface (API), Google Maps and a database of area webcams. The team's original intent was to build a product for local emergency managers and the Greenville-Spartanburg National Weather Service office. When other regional decision-makers expressed interest in having RENCI expand the site to cover other areas, the team created weatherwebcams.org to gather weather information from across the region.
Area residents who have an outdoor webcam that can provide reliable weather conditions can have data added to the site. For more information or to get involved, contact Dobson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.251.6973.