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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Advanced Weather Data from Earth Networks Helps Save Critical Assets

May 4th, 2017 by Susan Smith

Anuj Agrawal, CMO at Earth Networks, answered some questions for GISCafe Voice about Earth Networks’ weather data services that offer customers the ability to gain faster alerts, better predictions and risk mitigating data that can save companies money and time.

Earth Networks reports that it operates the world’s largest network of weather sensors, and its Total Lightning Network is the most extensive and technologically-advanced lightning network in the world.

Oil & Gas, Construction, government, energy and other weather-sensitive industries are taking advantage of advanced weather data analytics for safe site surveying and inspection with UAVs; and to protects their assets during severe weather events.

GISCafe Voice: What do you mean by “Advanced weather data?”

Advanced weather data is differentiated from other weather observations in terms of temporal and spatial granularity.  Our weather sensing network updates every 2 seconds and measurements are taken from within hyperlocal, highly populated areas where the data can drive commercial or public concern decisions.  On top of this, our lightning detection network is the largest in the world, with over 1,500 sensors measuring real-time lightning in over 90 countries. Earth Networks not only measures these weather and lightning events, but then creates predictive analytics to help companies plan for disruptions and to provide increased lead time to public entities to protect the public.

 GISCafe Voice: How do businesses in Oil & Gas, Construction, government, energy and other weather-sensitive industries leverage advanced weather data analytics for safe site surveying and inspection with UAVs; better response to disasters and emergencies; and protecting their significant investments in drone/UAV assets?

We’ll have to answer this one a bit generically.  We don’t have anyone using the data in the drone space right now.  That said, here is our position:

These industries all rely on Earth Networks now to safeguard assets from severe weather.  For example, energy companies build outage models utilizing their real-time hourly forecasting for every point in the country.  These companies can then plan field teams accordingly, and also plan drone operations to be conducted after the weather event to assess infrastructure damage that may have occurred.  By storing site surveys and historical weather data, companies can gain insight into how weather patterns are affecting their projects and critical assets.

GISCafe Voice:  What types of geospatial solutions do you use for this? Is it proprietary, something you build in house or are contracting?

We have a SaaS geospatial solution called Sferic Maps, leveraging technology from MapBox.  In the offering, which is also mobile-enabled, customers can create custom map layers by pasting GeoJSON onto the map.  Customers use this to depict the locations of their critical assets, visualize when weather patterns will intersect with those assets, and setup customized predictive alerts that can be sent to personnel managing those assets.

GISCafe Voice: What kinds of new approaches are you using in order to achieve advanced weather data?

We are continually integrating new datasets, sensors, and methodologies into our offerings.  We forecast several types of conditions beyond temperature and precipitation.  We also include solar insolence, wet bulb globe temperature, radial ice accumulation, and horizontal ice accumulation.  All of these measures are used in various industries to manage potentially dangerous situations.

GISCafe Voice:  Where are the weather sensors located and what are they tracking exactly?

Our 12,000+ sensors are generally located at school sites and within highly populated communities.  They are tracking various measurements such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, pressure, solar insolence, and precipitation.  Our 1,500+ lightning sensors are detecting lightning flashes and strikes that either hit the ground (cloud-to-ground), or occur within clouds (in-cloud).  In-cloud detection is unique as it is precursor to severe weather events, and generally precedes cloud-to-ground strikes.

GISCafe Voice: Can the weather data analytics analyze data patterns and make predictions from them as to safe alternatives for people?

Yes, this is core to what we do at Earth Networks.  Our weather and lightning sensors bring observations in that are used as primary inputs into our predictive algorithms.  The output of these algorithms are forecasts across several variables (such as those cited in #4,5 above) that companies use to automate their decision-making processes to protect their assets and people.

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Categories: asset management, climate change, cloud, data, disaster relief, drones, emergency response, geospatial, GIS, GPS, handhelds, image-delivery software, lidar, location based sensor fusion, mapping, sensors

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