Weather data integration aids first responders, public
The Kentucky Geography Network is now including detailed weather information on its innovative weather mapping site, thanks to a partnership with the Kentucky Climate Center.
Kent Anness, geographic information systems manager for the state’s Division of Geographic Information, said the KYGEONET site receives weather data via an RSS feed from the Kentucky Mesonet, a network of automated weather and climate monitoring stations scattered throughout the state and managed by the Kentucky Climate Center, located at Western Kentucky University.
The data is automatically updated on the Web site in 15-minute intervals, but that frequency can increase during times of severe weather, Anness said.
“The first time I saw the Kentucky Mesonet Web site I knew we had to find a way to incorporate this data feed into our applications," Anness said. "Having this type of data at the fingertips of first responders is essential, and making it available to the citizens of the state is just icing on the cake.”
Kentucky Mesonet Lead Systems Architect Mike Grogan said although Western is administering the program, each of the state’s universities play role in its success. He said 36 sites are now operational throughout the state, but that number could increase to as many as 50 by Christmas.
“The Kentucky Mesonet and the collaboration with COT is actually a shining example of how different agencies at different levels can work to achieve something great for the people of Kentucky,” Grogan said.
Recently, road condition information from the Transportation Cabinet’s Kentucky 511 Traffic & Travel Information service (http://511.ky.gov/) was also added to the site. This information is being augmented by the addition of traffic and community camera feeds from across the state.
“Our GIS Staff works closely with many agencies to provide these valuable services. They are always exploring new ways to integrate data from a variety of sources,” said Brian Kiser, executive director of the Office of Enterprise Technology at COT.
As part of the Commonwealth Office of Technology, the Division of Geographic Information is responsible for encouraging, coordinating and implementing geographic information systems for state government. The division works with state, federal and local governments to further geospatial efforts through activities including strategic planning, project management, technical and administrative support, dissemination of spatial data, education and training, research, and policy development.
On the Web
DGI’s weather page: http://kygeonet.ky.gov/kyweather/
Kentucky Mesonet: http://www.kymesonet.org/
Kentucky Climate Center at WKU:http://kyclim.wku.edu/