Archive for News

New Camera for Troon South Beach

I’m Delighted to announce a new camera for Troon South Beach! This camera has kindly been sponsored by Bargany B&B.
The weather stats are still being pulled from the Barassie station; I am working on some windvanes so I can get local readings but I don’t expect to have anything until summer.
New Troon page

Maintenance

Hardware
The trusty old netbook that had been working to upload weather data for the last 5 years has just been replaced. It’s amazing it’s survived being switched on solid for about 5 years!

Earlier in the year I upgraded the camera from a basic off the shelf web camera, to a full PTZ IP Cam with full HD sensor and optical zoom. I had hoped to set a routine to auto pan and then auto-stitch the pictures together to get a great quality image, but this proved too hard. With cost always being a factor, it was still on the cheap end of cameras and I’d say the firmware on the camera is terrible. It sometimes doesn’t auto-focus correctly and sometimes randomly changes position. I’m always on the lookout for better solutions. The trouble is getting a webcam with a decent sensor size and optical zoom.

Live streaming
I’m currently looking to see if I can create a live stream of the webcam rather than the still images uploaded. With a good frame rate, you should be able to see the effect of the wind on the waves (and maybe see a trampoline roll down the street every now and again).

Other stations
Other stations in the area is something I’ve been thinking about for some time. However, with the Barassie station, I have the luxury of an existing weather station and sitting the webcam indoors. To put in other stations, I need to get some cheaper weather sensors and find a home with internet connection to sit the webcam in. There are a couple of options that have just surfaced and I’m looking in to them now.

Better weather charts
The current weather charts are pretty basic images generated by the weather station software. It’d be great to live feed the weather data in to a database and have the charts on the website read that live data – dynamically updating with new readings. There are plenty of BI tools out there but with the hilarious re-branded internet services aka ‘the cloud’, things all come with a cost. If I can find or develop something simple – it’ll be a good addition to the site.

A few changes

There have been a few minor changes to the way the site looks. A new banner which moves the site title and menu up a bit saves space, allowing more useful data on the screen before needing to scroll.

Development of new stations had taken a bit of a break for a while as I’ve been busy with a new job and slight re-location… However, it is underway again and I hope to be doing some testing with a unit next month.

What’s been happening in 2013 and what’s planned for 2014

2013
2013 saws a couple of issues with the Barassie webcam. A Raspberry Pi was used to replace the existing setup of an old P4 PC and webcam. Unfortunately the image quality wasn’t very good and incomplete jpeg files were being sent to the website. The last straw was the memory card corrupting when I just didn’t have the time to investigate and resolve the issues. At the end of 2013 a new IP webcam was purchased which more or less worked out of the box.

2014
New stations are still in development and I hope to have some more later in the year.

Development of new stations

Development has begun on a new station!

The current weather station for Barassie beach is a fairly expensive weather station with a computer powered on 24/7 feeding the data to the website. The webcam is also a seperate system feeding the site from yet another computer. While this works ok, it’s not a long term solution and I couldn’t deploy more stations like this.

I’m developing a new weather station to use a very small low powered computer and also house a high quality webcam built in. Once I have a prototype I’ll deploy it to a location site to test. (probably Troon South beach).

The site is still very much in development but I hope to get a backlog page of features up so you can see what’s happening and vote/comment on/suggest new features.

barassieweather.co.uk spawns BeachStats

Earlier this month I purchased a new domain name РBeachStats.com.  This will be the new home for weather information about Barassie beach and will soon provide information for other beaches too.

Here’s some of the information that I’ll provide for the beaches:

  • Weather
  • Tide
  • Water quality
  • Webcam image
  • Facilities
  • Access / Parking
  • Map