There are many areas of the world that don't have access to the same quality of weather data we have access to in Australia. This data has huge agricultural and societal significance, and countries can benefit immensely from using detailed data about their environment. Unfortunately due to installation costs and technical knowledge required, many countries that are in most need of agricultural improvement are unable to deploy and maintain a suitable weather station network.
What it does
Open Element allows for the cheap and uncomplicated installation of weather stations. These weather stations act as a mesh, providing individual data which is collected and displayed as a network. This allows for detailed weather data to be collected in areas that are currently not being monitored by more expensive and complex weather stations. These weather stations collect data on temperature, air pressure and rainfall, and is displayed in real time. In addition to providing live data, Open Element also provides general historical weather data in areas where the network has been deployed.
How we built it
Open Element's data is retrieved from BMP280 temperature/pressure sensors and Raindrop Detection sensors connected to NodeMCU development boards. This data is then sent via HTTP POST request to our backend API developed using node.js and express.js which then updates our mongoDB database in real-time.
Challenges we ran into
Our team had difficulty properly visualising the data on our site through the use of heat maps. We ended up using the Google Maps "Heatmaps" layer which was able to display our data well.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud of being able to map data from our hardware prototypes in real time on our website, and the teamwork our group showed throughout UniHack.
What we learned
Our team had never fully integrated data from hardware into a backend database, and then display it on a website before, so this was a learning experience for all of us.
What's next for OpenElement
Using the collected data, Open Element will be able to provide weather forecasting for temperature and rainfall. Additional sensors can also be added to our hardware prototype such as soil moisture, air humidity, wind direction/speed etc. which will allow for additional features. We will also be able to introduce a small solar panel and box to power and protect the device.