About This Web Site

This Web site was created both as a hobby and as a public service to Germantown, Maryland. I do this mainly for my own education and entertainment, but also in the hope that others may benefit from my efforts.

This weather station and Web site are privately owned, and are not the officially recognized system of record for the local weather conditions.

Station Hardware

Picture of weather station

This station consists of a Davis Vantage Vue ISS and console. The data is collected approximately every 5 seconds and recorded once per minute in a database. The weather data displayed on this Web site is currently updated once every 15 seconds. The data is also published to the Weather Underground every 10 seconds, to the Citizen's Weather Observer Program (CWOP) every 10 minutes, as well as to several other weather Web sites.

The weather sensors have been situated in the most optimal positions available to achieve the highest accuracy possible. However, accuracy is not guaranteed, as compromises were made during installation, and no important decisions should be based on the information obtained from this Web site.

Station Software

Linux icon Java icon PHP Icon

This site's data is collected using software that I developed. The majority of the software runs on the Linux operating system. This portion of the software was developed using the Java programming language for portability between Linux and Windows as I develop on Windows but deploy to Linux. There is additional Windows client software that was developed using the C# programming language. The Web site uses PHP scripts and AJAX to format and display the weather data.

The software consists of the following components:

  • The hardware data acquisition component that polls the Davis weather hardware and publishes this information over a local area network (LAN) via TCP/IP. It also publishes data to several online services, including Weather Underground (station ID KMDGERMA9) and the Citizen's Weather Observer Program (station ID AS787).
  • The forecast retrieval component gathers NOAA weather data and forecasts on demand for a specified local zone and county. The forecast is retrieved on demand, but not more often than every five minutes. This retrieved data is stored for display on the Web site.
  • The data storage component gathers the weather data from the hardware data acquisition component once per minute and stores it in a database for later analysis and display on the Web site.
  • The Web site builder component creates this Web site using PHP scripts and the data supplied by all of the other components. This Web site is hosted by Bluehost.com and consists of a number of PHP and Javascript scripts used to format and update these Web pages. All of the pages are dynamic, where the weather data and statistics, as well as the forecast and other supporting information updating in near real time. The data on the Web pages is refreshed using AJAX.
  • The weather Web service which runs under Apache Tomcat and provides real-time weather data on a LAN.
  • The Windows client software for the weather Web service.

These are the basic software components in place so far. Planned enhancements/additions include providing weather data through the Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS) via radio and a satellite receiver to publish satellite images from the low Earth orbit weather satellites.

This software is available for download at this link

Station Computer

Raspberry Pi computer

The hardware data acquisition component was originally targeted to run an a TINI microprocessor. However I never implemented it on that platform because I ended up using an old discarded computer instead as a cost saving measure. Since then I have been through a number of station computers. All of them were low budget solutions. I also made a few attempts at using low power solutions to save some energy. The current station computer is a Raspberry Pi running off of an external hard drive. It runs the Hardware data acquisition, and weather Web service, along with various other open source software packages. The local Web server is Apache and the Web service is provided by Tomcat.

Here is a list of the station computers I have run in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top):
  • Raspberry Pi running the Raspbian O/S with an external hard drive
  • Discarded AMD Athlon workstation running Centos (retired for low power Raspberry Pi solutiuon)
  • Guruplug running Debian Linux (hardware failure after one year of operation)
  • Discarded Pentium 3 450 workstation running Fedora Core (retired for low power Guruplug solution)

The Windows Web service client runs on several workstations connected to a LAN running Windows 7 and 8. This client software uses the .NET Framework.

The WEB cam is a Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks. It is positioned in my computer room window facing towards the West.

Station Data

The weather data from this station is published to several online sources. These sources include:

About This City

Adapted from Wikipedia

Germantown is an unincorporated but urbanized census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland in the USA. It is the sixth most populous CDP in Maryland. If it were to incorporate, it would be the second largest city in Maryland [1].

As a non incorporated region with no mayor or town council, Germantown is, however, divided up into six town sectors, or "villages," which are:
  • Churchill Village
  • Gunners Lake Village
  • Clopper's Mill Village
  • Kingsview Village
  • Middlebrook Village
  • Neelsville Village

It is the only "Germantown, Maryland" recognized by the United States Postal Service, although there are technically three others, one each in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and Worcester County. It has the assigned ZIP Codes of 20874 and 20876 for delivery and 20875 for post office boxes only.

In the 1830s and 1840s, a large number of German business owners, some of whom were immigrants from Germany and others relocating from Pennsylvania, settled near where what are now known as Liberty Mill Road and Clopper Road intersect.  While most of the local landowners and farmers were English, travelers remembered the accents of the shop-owners and called the area Germantown. Germantown has experienced great growth during the past few years and an urbanized town center has been built.

Some Germantown trivia:

For much more detailed information about Germantown history, I highly recommend visiting the Germantown Historical Society Web site.  They provide a detailed history of Germantown, a listing of historical sites, calendar of local events, and a sales catalog that includes several books about Germantown and the railroad that helped fuel the growth of Germantown.

About These Statistics

This software began collecting the statistics displayed on these pages on Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:18:00 EST. The weather station software was last started on Tue Jan 16, 2018 21:14:33 EST.

Special Thanks

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