If you go up a page from Milos’ detailed list there’s a world map with temperatures. This looks very like the old WeatherChecker output but I think it’s really overlaid temp. numbers. The whole thing looks really good, but pictorial form is what most people are used to digesting weather data in.


How hard is it to convert these detailed figures into a map system that uses image maps and can be drilled down into a more local form?


I’d expect to be able to go from World to one of our defined geographical regions (eg Oceania or Europe) and from there down to a country level (eg UK).


Part of doing this would be altering the maps in some way to roughly mark out the areas that can be drilled to. Take a look at the BBC news page’s regional map for how they’ve done this. At regional level you’d want maps with country outlines, hover text would then be good to see where the final drill-down would go.


Is this do-able? Are these sources as free as we need? Is there scope for cross-project collaboration? For the latter, it’d seem reasonable that Wikipedia have the ability to look up temperature history and say which day in a year was the hottest/coldest. For Wikiversity the data is a historical record for any research purpose they can come up with, and we have a need for it as news – if we do build a long-term record then there’s our ability to analyse it for trends and such. Wikipedia with weather data is one feature of Wolfram Alpha knocked off. Instead of fancy algorithms that aren’t very good at parsing English queries you’d have lots of curious geeks writing programs to query the data.


There’s quite a few potential uses for Wikinews having this data available. If you have an earthquake or tsunami then the weather conditions are going to influence relief efforts. I’m sure people could come up with other examples.


This sort of begs the question, where should the data be held? We’re going to want it cross-wikinews – do we need weather.wikinews.org? (Or even weather.wikimedia.org) If so, and we have a good bot for it, could a WMF server have the spare capacity to run the bot?


Lastly, one of the things I always find useful in a weather map is isobars with front markings. Rarely seen on TV now, you can quickly tell what weather is going where and do your own half-day to day forecast. Do we have enough data to produce these at any particular level of detail?





-----Original Message-----
From: wikinews-l-bounces@lists.wikimedia.org [mailto:wikinews-l-bounces@lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of Paul Williams
Sent: 18 June 2009 15:36
To: Wikinews mailing list
Subject: Re: [Wikinews-l] Weather bot


Hi Milos,


I have a toolserver account I am willing to run the bot on for the English Wikinews. We shall have a chat at some point over the weekend - can I try and catch you on IRC?




Paul W


2009/6/18 Milos Rancic <millosh@gmail.com>

I finally made a weather bot according to my wishes. Its characteristics are:

* It gathers information from wund.com, but it is possible to make
plugins for other sites and protocols.
* It may gather data from all over the world.
* It may be localized in any language.

The only problem is that one iteration takes at least 5-7 minutes just
for weather in Serbia and just for Wikinews in Serbian. Probably, I
would be able to run enough of instances for covering weather in
Serbia for all Wikinews editions (or, questionable, to run enough of
instances to cover the whole world for sr.wn). That means that I'll
need your help (people who are able to run bots as cron jobs), so we
may cover the whole world for all Wikinews editions.

My other ask is related to programming the bot. I prefer to make the
bot as a collaborative work because it is not reasonable to expect
maintenance of one relatively huge project by just one person. I may
make subversion repository at SourceForge (or at one of the servers in
the company where I am working). If anyone of you are willing to join
me, let me know that. Also, all other ideas are welcome.

You may see its output here [1] (in Serbian).

[1] - http://sr.wikinews.org/wiki/%D0%92%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B2%D0%B5%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B8:%D0%92%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%BC%D0%B5/%D0%95%D0%B2%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BF%D0%B0/%D0%A1%D1%80%D0%B1%D0%B8%D1%98%D0%B0

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