A different sort of cloud computing
Recently we heard about traffic lights that can sense weather and adjust their signaling to prioritize cyclists, allowing them to get home faster when it's nasty out. We also honored a set of smartphone-based environmental sensors in this year's Core77 Design Awards. It seems pretty clear that weather sensing is going to be a "thing," and here's an idea right out in front of that trend: A project that plans consolidate meteorological data from smartphones to crowdsource weather information.
The London-based project is called WeatherSignal and their idea is to build up a network of people willing to talk about the weather (which may be all of us.) Cell phones collect a lot of data through an array of new sensors that have been added to the modern phones so WeatherSignal wants to creatively take advantage of that. It's quite compelling when you see it in action. Go to their homepage and you'll see the result, weather icons dotted over a global map, powered by Google maps, that provides local temps, humidity, pressure, sun/cloud/rain, even magnetic field ranges. There are filters for indoor weather as well—I suppose wherever the cell phone rests. And there are time ranges, from current, to three hours ago, to last week.
Which phones are they using? From their site:
This completely depends on the cell phone you use. Taking the Samsung Galaxy series as an example, each new model has had an increased number of sensors. Having more sensors means that we can collect, and display, a wider range of readings.
For the Galaxy S4—the most complete phone in terms of sensors yet produced, we can collect temperature, pressure, light intensity, magnetic flux and humidity—and many of those can be collected from older models as well. The Galaxy SIII, for instance, can collect pressure, light intensity, temperature and magnetic flux.