As part of their pre-university taster sessions, our departing UVI (Year 13) Geographers took on a huge challenge in their final two weeks of lessons. They used their sessions to build, programme, and deploy a fully functioning weather station from component level, which is now a node on the global WeatherSTEM network.

They built the station around a Raspberry Pi 4 micro-computer, connecting and configuring a custom built SkyWeather2 rack imported from SwitchDoc laboratories in Idaho: they set up a 433MHz Software Defined Radio (SDR) communication system to transmit the data to the station before it is compiled and uploaded to the internet through the school WiFi network. This required a myriad of skills from Python3 programming, using Github to adopt open source software, assembling the micro-computer and hat boards, creating a webserver, and weatherproofing the 3D printed case to allow the unit to be deployed by the Science Block in all conditions. The girls tackled the various obstacles that invariably present themselves in programming, debugging and reprogramming as required, to achieve eventually a fully functional weather station. The unit logs, and transmits live, a huge variety of data from temperature and humidity to air quality. A ‘SkyPhoto’ is taken every 60 seconds to illustrate cloud conditions, and these images are then zipped into a timelapse at the end of each 24 hour period. The girls were able to program the RPi to begin transmitting at boot and so the station should generate academically and practically invaluable data for many years to come, with almost no maintenance (hopefully..).

Very many congratulations to Imogen, Isabella, Lizzie and Amelia who completed the project and leave us with a wonderful legacy. Farewell also to the other girls in the cohort from all in the Geography Department.