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Australia's Bureau of Meteorology

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10 comments

  • Avatar
    Richard Mann (Edited )

    Hi,

    I am looking to buy the Rainmachine Touch HD-16 because I live on a remote property with tank water and need variable control for each area - trees, vegetables, garden, etc.

    I am impressed that specific Python scripts can be written and loaded and this sets the Rainmachine apart.

    There is real-time data available via a JSON feed. If you can combine the two feeds then you will have a service that suits the whole of Australia.

    The user must be able to choose their region and specific station, though, which is quite hard.

    For me the two feeds are:

    ftp://ftp.bom.gov.au/anon/gen/fwo/IDV10753.xml

    (which is the precis XML forecast link for Victoria on this page: http://www.bom.gov.au/catalogue/data-feeds.shtml)

    and

    http://www.bom.gov.au/fwo/IDV60801/IDV60801.95853.json

    (first go to http://www.bom.gov.au/vic/observations/vicall.shtml and find your state / closest station)

    (then from the specific station page find the json link below the data E.g. http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDV60801/IDV60801.95853.shtml)

     

    They are both named "Castlemaine" in the data which seems to be the only link.

    This may be a little complex for some users, but if this could be baked in to the system somehow then you would have the only system that gets correct data for all Australian locations.

     

    The alternative is to screenscrape (yes, I know...) the data at http://www.weatherzone.com.au/vic/north-central/castlemaine (for example) which is how the weather add-on for the Kodi PVR works (also written in Python) which is then a one-stop-shop for all Australian weather data.

  • Avatar
    Richard Mann (Edited )

    I have written a parser for local observations but I'm unable to properly test it.

    It is not clear what historical data is needed and how it is used.

    I've written the parser the JSON data from the BoM and to grab the UTC for each historic day (including "today") on the assumption that the data will be consumed properly.

    If anyone wants a copy to test/modify let me know.

    I would very much like to understand if this can work in conjunction with the "test" BoM parser to see if the Rainmachine get all the data it needs from the two feeds.

  • Avatar
    Ben Manfield

    The recommendation from other forums has been to used more localised third party services that offer API access.

     

  • Avatar
    Richard Mann (Edited )

    Thanks Ben, but that forum thread is over 8 years old and most of the links are invalid. The links and comments also point to the services that I have been using anyway - XML and Json, so I believe I am using the latest local data from the correct source. The alternative is to use a PWS from close by - if one is available. But unfortunately, this cannot be tested in the test suite online.

    My basic question is - how would the data I am importing be utilised in Rainmachine? I don't own a Rainmachine and am not keen on buying until I can understand if it will be of use to me. I don't want to buy a device that uses data from 30 kms away, when I have a local bureau weather station 10 kms away.

    I have the opportunity to import the data from the BoM using the processes outlined above. I just need to know if that data is valuable to the device.

    I.e. Does it use the last hour, day, week? Or does it need daily data for a month?

    Is it more useful to get temperature, pressure or rainfall?

    Without that understanding, it is hard to build any service.

    And if I am to use a PSW, can the RM see one near me or not?

  • Avatar
    Nicholas

    Hi Richard,

     

    RainMachines uses 2 types of weather data:

    1. Forecasted

    2. Observed

     

    RainMachine will always water in the future (using forecast) and corrects with observed data (in the past).

    For observed data a single day value for min/max temperature, rain, pressure, dew point, wind is enough. Having more observation types (rain, pressure, wind etc) improves the calculation of EvapoTranspiration (ET). You could fetch observed data by hour but this doesn't makes much sense as we'll calculate an average or max/min depending on observation type. It will mostly waste bandwidth. 

    Also for observed data we advise to only get data for yesterday as we are saving each day locally on RainMachine database (we keep a history of observations).

    As for PSW depends on what service do you use. For example Weather Underground service allows you to select close by stations to be used.

     

  • Avatar
    Richard Mann (Edited )

    Thanks Nicolas, I am currently writing a review of how Smart Irrigation controllers can and could work in Australia. Given that most are US-centric, it is important for me to understand the current support for localised weather data as well as how the systems can be expanded. Once this is complete, I will be doing a hands on test of the units to see how they actually stack up in this market place. The RainMachine appears, on face value, to be a viable unit, noting that I am looking at locations outside capital cities that are not as well services by weather data given the sparse population.

    To date, much of the forum discussion here has been centered around Sydney and Melbourne which is not relevant to me.

  • Avatar
    Nicholas

    Hi Richard,

    Nice, keep us posted with your progress.

    We have designed RainMachine to be international from the start but I don't have much experience with bom.gov.au and I'm not sure how reliable it is , as getting data from their services it's quite tedious.

    I did some weather queries for Lajamanu and the best seems to be Weather Underground.

  • Avatar
    Eric Yew

    Hey Richard, I have just bought a RainMachine Mini-8 to be used in Glen Waverley, Victoria. I think the nearest weather station would be the Scoresby one. If you could share with me the code you have written, I could test it out? Thanks.

  • Avatar
    Richard Mann

    Hi Eric, Unfortunately I lost the code when a disk failed. So back to square one.

    But I think I would actually just use the closest PWS which is the capability that leant me towards Rainmachine in the first place. The Rachio could only do 32 miles away as the closest to where I am in Newstead, Victoria.

  • Avatar
    Richard Mann (Edited )

    All, I have written a new parser based on the commercial Willyweather site that provides an API for the Bureau of Meterology.

    The code works really well and you can see all the data in RainMachine, but is still a work in progress do to some simple misunderstandings below.

    You can view it here: https://github.com/safepay/rainmachine 

    2 things are confusing:

    1. What times to log - if I log with local times (current code), the start and end of days matches that of Open WeatherMap (there is a separate support thread for this)

    2. How to handle Observed vs Forecast data. I have the parserHistorical = False flag set, but not sure if this is correct. I am also logging the data with local time, based on my experience with the forecast data.

    Changes to these components are very simple, as all the data is available. If someone can correct these for me, then that would be great and another parser will be born!

     

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