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Cloud Sense up and running on Astrospheric

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#1 moab360

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 06:30 PM

Astrospheric

Advanced weather forecasting for North American astronomers
overview.jpg
 

Website  |  Android App  |  iOS App

 

Hello fellow astronomers,

 

I’m excited to announce that I’ve upgraded the cloud forecast on Astrospheric with something I’m calling “Cloud Sense”.  This is a system I’ve been working on the past few months to help create a more holistic view of clouds and their movement near your observing location.

 

Since creating Astrospheric, I’ve kept map overlays as the most important feature of the service.  Maps allow us to quickly see variability and patterns in the clouds (and other data) very quickly.  The data on the map provides context to the 48 hour forecast summary also shown on Astrospheric.  If a forecast says clear but the map shows clouds nearby or moving quickly, then it’s probably the case that the skies will not be totally clear. 

 

Cloud Sense looks to improve the 48 hour cloud forecast by incorporating what we naturally do when looking at the map - detect patterns.  Now when you request a forecast from Astrospheric, the server will not just search the exact location you’ve requested, but will instead progressively look further and further away, scanning for nearby clouds.  Once the spatial scan is complete, it looks at the forecast hour before an after a given time to detect the movement of the clouds it found while scanning.  All of this data is then condensed into a Cloud Sense prediction.  The server does this work for every hour in the cloud forecast.

 

There is nothing you need to do enable this feature and nothing new to learn when you look at the cloud forecast.  The values will still range between 0 and 100 percent and are color coded the same way.  The only real difference will (hopefully) be more accurate cloud forecasts.

 

To start, the changes will be rather subtle.  I’ve got Cloud Sense running with relativly conservative settings.  I plan on tuning these settings over time based on your feedback.  Small steps.

 

Thanks for reading and Clear Skies
-Dan


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#2 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 11:33 PM

Flipping brilliant.


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#3 psandelle

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 10:29 AM

I'm counting on this for tomorrow night! grin.gif

 

Paul


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#4 moab360

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 11:38 AM

I'm counting on this for tomorrow night! grin.gif

 

Paul

Pressures on!


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#5 chilldaddy

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 03:02 PM

Thanks for your work on this amazing app!  I check it every day.  Okay, multiple times every day! grin.gif


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#6 JeffXJS

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 03:19 PM

Nice work Dan. I use the app regularly. Love it. -Jeff
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#7 aatdalton

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 06:32 PM

Excellent work! It's always interesting seeing how accurate any kind of weather forecast is here in rural Alaska. 


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#8 junomike

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 06:33 PM

if this is half as accurate as my local weather sites, I'll love ya forever.


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#9 RyanSem

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 09:30 AM

Awesome, still the best site out there.


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#10 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 06:06 PM

I just came across this thread and immediately downloaded the app. This may be the coolest weather app that I’ve ever seen! Weather, Clear Sky Chart rolled into one, plus you can layer to see smoke, jet stream, etc. 

 

I don’t know how you are able to give this app away, but thank you! 


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#11 akulapanam

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 04:59 PM

Astrospheric has been very helpful! Look forward to trying the new cloud forecast

Edited by akulapanam, 31 March 2019 - 05:00 PM.

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#12 psandelle

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 09:37 PM

Worked great on Saturday! Thanks!

 

Paul


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#13 akulapanam

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 10:50 PM

Have you given any thought to analyzing the data over the longer term to determine which areas are more / less likely to have clouds?  Weatherspark is a good reference but its not perfect.  Would be helpful for choosing observatory locations.


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#14 moab360

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 12:15 PM

Have you given any thought to analyzing the data over the longer term to determine which areas are more / less likely to have clouds?  Weatherspark is a good reference but its not perfect.  Would be helpful for choosing observatory locations.

I definitely would like to provide monthly roll-ups maps for clouds, transparency, and seeing at some point in the future.  Thanks for sharing Weatherspark, that's an interesting site!



#15 aatdalton

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 05:39 PM

Do you have any plans to integrate user reports for bettering models? Without much knowledge of your algorithms and input data, I'd think that would require some ground-up rework. 


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#16 moab360

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 12:23 PM

Do you have any plans to integrate user reports for bettering models? Without much knowledge of your algorithms and input data, I'd think that would require some ground-up rework. 

It depends on the variable being corrected.  Seeing and Transparency are computed off of raw RDPS model values on my server and I can influence them with corrections.  Transparency is the only variable that I allow corrections on today.  This data mainly calibrates the color scales and sometimes re-calibrates my underlying model.

 

For fundamental variables like Clouds, Temperature, dew point, and wind, I use the raw values from the Canadian RDPS and I don't currently have a way to pipe corrections all the way back into the base model.  So while a user report may be able to correct the current forecast (which may be valuable itself), there would be no good way to teach the underlying model with the corrections.

 

All this said, the RDPS is under constant analysis and improvement.  Some more info on that here - https://weather.gc.c...on/index_e.html.


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