The case for crowd-sourced weather

I bent down over my phone’s weather app – 80 degrees and sunny in Elizabeth, Colorado.  I looked up at the sky quizzically. Sun was definitely beating down on me where I stood, dog at the heel and horses neighing in the stable, out on Colorado’s sprawling flat land south east of Denver.  But 20 miles away over in the nearest town, Elizabeth, Colorado…? There was this mysterious cloud that hung over the western horizon. Well, so be it.  I pocketed my phone, rationalizing that since it was a computer, it was most likely correct, and turned the key in my engine. As I drove West toward town, the cloud deepened with this brooding, boiling  intensity.  By the time I reached town, hail balls were rebounding off my car, the road, and piling up in the gutter.  Thunder crashed just a second after the sky lit up with  jagged, spastic lightening bolts. Cars huddled in the gas station for shelter.

Perplexingly, my weather app persisted to report that it was 80 degrees and sunny.  That’s because the report my phone was pulling was a forecast based on what the weather had been, at a station miles away.  Not what the weather actually was.

The next day, J.T. Xiao, CEO and Founder of BloomSky, called and told me about this phenomenal concept for crowdsourcing weather!   We’d  use affordable personal weather stations to build a network that takes photos of the sky and reports real-time weather to users through the mobile app.  With BloomSky Outdoor Stations scattered around the country, we’d be able to understand microclimates and real-time weather (“now-casts”) with far more precision than weather forecasts currently are able to.  Anyone with a smartphone could tap into the BloomSky network to access real-time information specific to a location – at his home, the office, atop a favorite mountain. Before driving, had I witnessed the conditions that were hammering down on Elizabeth through a local BloomSky, I would have thought better of driving right then.

Do you also remember a time when BloomSky could have saved you from a weather catastrophe?  If you do, Join the Weatherlution and pre-order your own BloomSky 25% off  with promo-code “weatherlution.”

This is what the sky looked like, while my weather app said "Sunny with a 40% chance of rain."

This is like what the sky looked like, while my weather app said “Sunny with a 40% chance of rain.”


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