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-   -   Weather/Web Cameras (https://www.pprune.org/pacific-general-aviation-questions/606573-weather-web-cameras.html)

Squawk7700 14th Mar 2018 23:37

Weather/Web Cameras
 
Greetings.

As many of you are aware, webcams for the weather are a great idea. There's lots of places offering services to host them and it's all a little complex to be honest. AirServices have done a great job with help from Dick Smith, however they can be a little clumsy to access when you're up flying and there won't be enough resources to keep rolling them out to the smaller airfields.

So I've gone and made it very simple.

IF you have WIFI at your airport or off-airport location such as home or workplace, go to ebay and buy this camera, power it up and mount it, either outside or pointing out a window:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/22267244....N41.S1.R1.TR2

I will send you basic instructions on how to set it up to upload photos to a website that I have arranged for unlimited photo hosting.

You will then be able to access it such as via a link like this one:

http://webcamstorageaus.com/ytdn/showimage.php

If it's located at your airport, then we can have it added quickly and easily to OZRUNWAYS! The more cameras the better as far as most of us are concerned.


If you DON'T have WIFI at your airport, you can use a 4G camera instead, but it will cost more (there are others, this is just an example):

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/HD-1080P...FNNfqwX4y1vqrQ

You'll need to add either a $100 p/a SIM card from ALDI or a $150 one from Telstra.

It's not hard, I've done the hard work for you.

Let me know here or by PM if you need more info.

So far I've got 2 more coming online soon, one near Melbourne and one at the top end of Tassie.

rjtjrt 15th Mar 2018 21:53

Great initiative. Thanks.

I wish they/someone would host a camera at Lilydale or Coldstream pointing north and north east, at the 2 passes over the Great Divide that are an alternative to Kilmore Gap.

Is there a web site (other than ozrunways app) that lists all camera’s and a link to them?

mikewil 15th Mar 2018 22:46


If it's located at your airport, then we can have it added quickly and easily to OZRUNWAYS!
OZRUNWAYS doesn't even show all of the BOM ones. Any idea what the reason for this is? They are presumably all owned/operated in the same manner, but OZRUNWAYS doesn't display all of them, like Cairns for example.

601 16th Mar 2018 00:37

Could you use an old mobile with WiFi instead of a decidated camera?

sdielectrical 16th Mar 2018 02:25

Here is a small collection of weather cameras setup by a group of individuals for pilots at aerodromes.

www.skycam.net.au

I look after the online portion, whilst the individual hosts look after the cameras and provide the internet.

Added benefits are weather data on images

It has been a very successful setup and well supported by Ozrunways.

Soon to come: Jabiru, Birdsville, Orange and possibly Wilpena Pound

KRviator 16th Mar 2018 02:43


Originally Posted by sdielectrical (Post 10085383)
Here is a small collection of weather cameras setup by a group of individuals for pilots at aerodromes.

Added benefits are weather data on images

Which leads me to the question I was going to ask Squawk7700...How do these Webcams overlay the METAR data on the image?!?

rjtjrt 16th Mar 2018 02:59


Originally Posted by sdielectrical (Post 10085383)
Here is a small collection of weather cameras setup by a group of individuals for pilots at aerodromes.

Skycam Network - Home

I look after the online portion, whilst the individual hosts look after the cameras and provide the internet.

Added benefits are weather data on images

.....

It is so important to have date and time stamp easily visible on each image to ensure it is not yesterdays weather we are looking at.

Squawk7700 16th Mar 2018 03:13

KRviator, you'd have to ask sdielectrical on how to do the weather overlay economically as there are many solutions ranging from low cost to mega $$.

Some of the cameras on the skycam page above appear to be using a system imported by: Davis Instruments Australia but they are up there in $$.

The idea of what I am suggesting is an extremely low cost system that primarily shows cloud cover and if you want, simply point it at your wind sock for an accurate indication. When imported into OZrunways the text can be a tad small so it's hard to see the wind strength etc within the photo. At least that's the case for my ageing eyes and ipad mini on the dash.

rjtrjt, I've spoken with Coldstream today, thanks to your prompt and they are certainly interested.

OZBUSDRIVER 16th Mar 2018 21:41

More power to you, S7700. A little thing can promote a huge safety outcome.

A decade ago CASA produced a CD on pushing on into WX. I have to be honest, you keep scrolling through until you see WX below your personal minimums and then go back one panel and press the divert button...how clever am I...Not!

Coldstream cameras pointing at both Mt Slide and Black Spur are a damn good idea! From TYA that would be timely information for a decision to divert to Kilmore or not launch at all.

Squawk7700 17th Mar 2018 12:29

I'm talking to Tyabb about getting theirs back on-line reliably via a central location to access as it well as OZRunways or similar other EFB product. Coldstream will hopefully come on board too. I didn't raise the prospect of 2 cameras with them but it's certainly worth mentioning. They will need power run up a pole which will be a little bit of stuffing around. Am waiting for a callback from Lilydale.

I've received the camera in the link above and it's testing well. I ran into a bit of a problem with reading the latest file to display it as they upload to a directory based on the current date. Each camera model firmware is different which can be a challenge. One check-box on one camera, doesn't exist on another, oh the joy of IT. I've outsourced the PHP code update to a guy on AirTasker for $18 LOL as I didn't have the patience.

rjtjrt 17th Mar 2018 21:46

Squawk
If you can get these up it will be something to be very proud of.
Great effort, and much appreciated.
I am sure once someone does the first one and they can be contacted and can report how easy it was to do, more will come on board.
For some of us tech luddites, it seems daunting but if their is a proven relatively eay way, then that is much different.

Clinton McKenzie 17th Mar 2018 21:58

Setting up the Skycam network camera on my hangar at Cootamundra was a relatively easy process, with great assistance from sdielectrical. :ok:

Perched on the corner of hangar doing up U bolts at the bottom of a 4.2 metre length of gal pipe while CBs were building up was a little worrying, but I managed to survive.

Dick Smith 17th Mar 2018 22:08

The aviation wx forecast gives cloud conditions at Mittagong and Mt Victoria but no cameras at these locations.

I will donate the capital cost if someone organises! Is there a Mittagong airport group who could do at least one?

sdielectrical 17th Mar 2018 22:24


Originally Posted by Dick Smith (Post 10087484)
The aviation wx forecast gives cloud conditions at Mittagong and Mt Victoria but no cameras at these locations.

I will donate the capital cost if someone organises! Is there a Mittagong airport group who could do at least one?

Good call with those locations Dick. They are very much like the Kilmore Gap location which is now covered because of your initiative.

I’ll have a think about MVI but I have already been in contact with a Bloke whose is trying to get the club at Mittagong to give the go ahead for internet and a couple of my cameras. I’ll draw his attention to your interest in these locations and see where he is up to

Squawk7700 17th Mar 2018 22:48

I don't want to tread on anyone's toes... I am more than happy to add cameras to the SkyCam network in conjunction with other systems out there, it's really just a link on a website.

My experience shows that small operators aren't excited about costly weather stations and that a near live photo is suitable for most purposes and this is a very low cost non-commercial solution.

I've just finished the set-up for north Tassie at a grand total of $55 and I'll ship that down there for mounting and addition to Ozrunways shortly. They have WIFI on-site which made it easy.

For areas with no ADSL it's $150 for a 4G camera and $150 for data P/A.

In summary...

If WIFI on-site:

Cost ~$55 for a camera once off (Multiple cameras are fine too)

No-WIFI:

Year 1: $300 (camera + data)
Subsequent years: $150 (Telstra data - gives a photo every 3-4 mins)

* Both options require 240 volts

sdielectrical 17th Mar 2018 23:49

Squawk77

Yours is a good solution as it gives the option of wireless data. With the addition of a small solar panel, battery and charge controller it could be placed almost anywhere

There is no stepping on anyone’s toes. It all benefits the flying community

As for the skycam stuff. It was just a development at the Rylstone Airpark. There were many enquiries about how to do it and that is why I started a place in the ether to keep them all as people couldn’t see past all the IT stuff to do it themselves

It seemed hard enough for people to get their aero clubs to agree and work together to get things done with internet and funding

Every site is different

The weather data info that I’ve got on the images was quite a bit of work with php. There is no easy way for me to tell you how to do it. It took a lot of work and has been refined along the way. I am happy to help anyone if they have questions

Rylstone and Shute Harbour purchased a Davis weather station and I wrote script to display this information. This I believe is better than a METAR

There were a few people that came to me for help and did Things their own way. Merimbula, Cessnock & Gawler were done with their own cameras with a bit of tweaking and help on the phone.

I would like to try the wireless camera as used at Tooradin. It looks like a decent low cost solution. Good work setting that up


I believe the government is dragging the chain in this area

METARS should now be provided with an image or images as standard. This is 2018

sdielectrical 18th Mar 2018 00:17

Dick,
PM sent

rjtjrt 18th Mar 2018 00:24

One thing that would be handy, would be some note on weather image indicating direction camera is pointed.
Not essential but handy for those that do not know the area.

sdielectrical 18th Mar 2018 00:30


Originally Posted by rjtjrt (Post 10087593)
One thing that would be handy, would be some note on weather image indicating direction camera is pointed.
Not essential but handy for those that do not know the area.

Your Right.

On Ozrunways they have a button to select between the cameras and because of this you can tell which direction it faces. Unfortunately if there is inept one image at the location there is no need for the buttons and so you have no idea which way it faces. I have asked them to make this change in the app but they are very busy

On the sky am site it says under the image which direction.

I tried not to clutter the images too much with stuff but you are right and I will have a think about a nice way on the image to clearly show direction facing and hopefully
Implement something soon

Squawk7700 18th Mar 2018 01:18

I put the direction of the camera into the namestamp at the top left of the image so when it shows up in Ozrunways it shows the direction.


I've managed to get two "sign-ups" today alone, so it will be good to keep the momentum going! 3 new cameras in a week is impressive.

Latrobe Valley and another strip nearby to them are now onboard so thanks guys!

sdielectrical 22nd Mar 2018 01:30

Dick,

Thank you for your support to get infrastructure installed at Mittagong. We’ll be working on this during next week.

Does anyone know an aviation enthusiast located in the Blue Mountains? I’ve heard YKAT is now closed. It would be great to have a camera mounted on the Hydro Majestic or similar vantage point.

Camera just needs to plug into router. Nothing too difficult.

This area after all is a “critical locality”. Just like Bowral and Kilmore Gap

Maybe a RFS base or similar. Pretty much any business or government building has internet intrastructure.

OK4Wire 22nd Mar 2018 01:37

I noticed your link goes to a 720p camera. I am wondering is the upgrade to 1080p camera worthwhile? Or does the extra bandwidth cause problems?

Squawk7700 22nd Mar 2018 02:22


Originally Posted by OK4Wire (Post 10092239)
I noticed your link goes to a 720p camera. I am wondering is the upgrade to 1080p camera worthwhile? Or does the extra bandwidth cause problems?

The 720 4G camera is around 145k per photo. So depending on the data plan a bigger image could cause come issues. At 2 per minute it's ~145 x 30 x 24 x 365 = ~ 40 gb.

The problem is that the default Telstra sim plan is $150 for a year, however it depends on what the bonus data is at the time so you may literally have between 20 and 40 gig and not know what you can get.

You can of course set to every 4-5 or longer which will use up all of the 20gb. The 4G can also be used as a router, so adding a second smaller camera will mean less photos per hour.

Not a huge issue as you can simply top up the data plan, but it starts to get a big expensive for the budget conscious, so if ADSL is onsite, happy days.

The other idea could be turning off power during the dark which can be done easily with a timer, however this doesn't work on most cameras as they need daylight to be able to focus when power is turned on.

720p cameras are literally sub $50 and with ADSL onsite you can have this all running and on a website and Ozrunways for $50. A cheap 1080 camera is closer to $80-85. Not much difference but it seems from my discussions that if we're pushing $100 it sounds like a lot more. Just a perception thing.


Since starting this thread I have 2 new units in Victoria and one in Tas that will come online next week.

In addition, I've got tentative agreement for 5 more across 3 locations in Vic and potential for a sizeable number in WA.

The biggest impact down here would have been for 3 council operated airfields in Vic, however the council isn't coming onboard and wants to look at the bigger picture which I feel will take quite a while.


Does anyone know if AirServices have finished their rollout?

Ixixly 22nd Mar 2018 09:51

Well done Squawk7700, brilliant work, only bad thing about it is that CASA couldn't manage to do something like this themselves!!!

Squawk7700 22nd Mar 2018 10:11

The biggest surprise has been how many airfields (particularly council operated) actually have ADSL fitted, which makes it a complete no-brainer.

Dick Smith 24th Mar 2018 01:02

Airservices have buildings at Kings Tableland and perhaps Mt Boyce near Mt Victoria. Great place for a camera. Anyone know anyone at AsA? I will pay for the camera so they can have safety as the most important consideration!

Squawk7700 24th Mar 2018 02:54

Hi Dick, has your funding donation been depleted?

I would be interested to know why they chose certain locations over others, such as Launceston and Devonport versus Hobart, or is it still on-going and they are likely to come along? Wouldn't want to duplicate systems.

Hopefully we can fill the gaps.

The hardest part is convincing operators (mainly councils) that this can be done very economically, for really just the cost of a camera or two, be they from $50 to $1,000 units, it's great value if they have Internet already. Thus far, words I've been hit with include... "strategic direction, grand vision, airport vision, 2020 budget, feasibility study, cost benefit analysis, consultation with council members, duty of care, corporate responsibility and liability concerns."

ASA simply have a nicely worded disclaimer around the validity of the images and advises that the service is unregulated.

sagan 24th Mar 2018 03:52

Lord Howe ? Particularly as the expert eyes on site has been silenced by CAsA

Squawk7700 24th Mar 2018 06:54


Originally Posted by sagan (Post 10094829)
Lord Howe ? Particularly as the expert eyes on site has been silenced by CAsA

Discussions are already in progress for this one ;)

We are looking at a more substantial offering given the significance of the location and the very harsh environment. We're thinking it may take a lot longer than the others for installation.

There was talk of one already being there, but it seems to depend on who you talk to as to whether it actually exists.

An issue I can foresee is the lack of coverage over the ocean... for a lighty, you're looking at up to 3.5 hours over water of which 3 could be out of range 3/4G range, so having an OZRunways image that's 3+ hours old could be an issue, but that being said it would be a good guide to start with.

If anyone has flown there (which I'll happily admit that I'm not brave enough to do) and can advise on the extent of mobile coverage, that would be greatly appreciated!

KRviator 24th Mar 2018 07:49


Originally Posted by Squawk7700 (Post 10094914)
If anyone has flown there (which I'll happily admit that I'm not brave enough to do) and can advise on the extent of mobile coverage, that would be greatly appreciated!

From HERE...

Many holidaymakers are delighted that there is no mobile phone coverage on Lord Howe Island, but public phones and faxes are available.
And according to THIS website, it looks like Norfolk Island only has 2G coverage! :eek:

StickWithTheTruth 24th Mar 2018 08:09

Yes, no coverage AFAIK.

My question was around how far out off the mainland does coverage extend. I'm guessing well and truly sub 30 miles perhaps, so pretty much useless as I've identified above, unless you're driving a fast yet.

catseye 24th Mar 2018 08:12

blue mountains cam
 
Dick,
the ASA site on Tablelands road is closest to the saddle and ( I recall ) slightly lower than Mt Boyce.

Used to use the scenic skyway camera which was steerable on line. Not sure if you can steer anymore or maybe I don't have the technology right.
https://www.scenicworld.com.au/explo...-look/web-cam/

what ever goes in needs east and west outlooks and deicing
:ok:

CaptainMidnight 24th Mar 2018 08:43


Anyone know anyone at AsA?
  • Jason Harfield
  • Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston
I thought you knew them -

Squawk7700 24th Mar 2018 08:53

From a pilots perspective, mainly from those with experience in the area, is Lord Howe a concern for cloud, or is it mainly just the strong and unpredictable winds causing turbulence that mean you can't land there?

I'm tipping that the majority of traffic is IFR, however I'm sure there's plenty of VFR.

I'm just wondering what the true value of a weather camera will be...

- VFR over the top?
- Cloud / fog on the ground?

I haven't been in the Tasman enough times to know if fog and low cloud are an issue.

Edit: Seems I've answered my own question by looking at their website :-)

What I didn't realise is that the runway is only 888 metres and needs to be extended by 2023 as Qantas won't be running the Dash8-200 after then.

http://members.iinet.net.au/~bc75/lhi.jpg

Squawk7700 27th Mar 2018 12:16

Well it has certainly been a busy week... the word is spreading fast and I'm getting a lot of interest.

Stats:

6 confirmed sites (all airports).
12 tentative sites (all airports).
10 confirmed cameras - installing over the next month or so.
19 tentative cameras planned thus far.

Of the tentative ones, I think around 6-7 may not go ahead for numerous reasons. This is just the start and it's expanding rapidly.

All sites are in Victoria, WA and Tasmania including some nearby islands. Am definitely getting quick traction with private operators, with councils somewhat more non-committal, which I can only assume is a financial restriction. There's committee meetings to happen and board meetings etc for some of the sites which was also expected.

Ixixly 27th Mar 2018 12:31

A quick suggestion Squawk7700, in conjunction with Dick Smith, perhaps he could help cover the cost of a number of cameras and data subscriptions for the Council run Airports which may speed them along in getting it approved as they wouldn't have to get approval for funding too? Hopefully it might at least remove one hurdle they'll try and use to stop them from having to actually make a decision!!

rjtjrt 27th Mar 2018 21:01

7700
Well done. Great to hear of the progress.

Squawk7700 27th Mar 2018 22:15

I've been thinking. I should perhaps re-phrase when I say "financial restrictions" for council. I'm thinking it's more policies and procedures rather than finances. As a local government employee, you would not just go and put up a camera without seeking permission and permission usually comes from board / council / committee meetings which is fair enough.

I feel it won't happen overnight, but it will happen.

Gordy 27th Mar 2018 23:49

You should see the wx cams in Alaska:

Alaska Weather cams FAA

Squawk7700 28th Mar 2018 00:29

Impressive and a great insight at what can be done. It's clear why Dick Smith gave his significant donation to make this happen in Australia.


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