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Penn State Alumnus Donates High-Tech Weather Station to Shaver's Creek

by on July 14, 2015 6:45 AM

The world is moving faster and faster, and big data is becoming one of the most useful tools in the world.

Now State College is at the big data forefront, and you'll be able to collect every aspect of outside conditions within seconds.

WeatherSTEM, an education company located in Tallahassee, Fl., is donating a weather station that will measure everything from temperature to soil condensation at the Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.

"That system takes a measurement of weather conditions, soil conditions, it takes a picture of the sky once per minute and uploads them to the science education platform, where that data is used for K-12 education content," says Ed Mansouri, Penn State alumnus and WeatherSTEM founder.

The weather station will collect data on Shaver's Creek's climate then upload it to its website immediately for teachers in the area.

The station also measures wind, precipitation, UV radiation, air pressure, soil quality and maps lightning strikes. Users will be able to compare their area to regions across the country.

Mansouri, a Penn State meteorology graduate, likes to compare this system to other climate research methods by using a football analogy.

"Assuming you're a Penn State football fan, would you rather watch the Nittany Lions play a live game at Beaver Stadium or would you rather have a DVD of the game that was played many years ago," Mansouri asks. "Most people will respond, 'Well I'd rather watch something live as it's happening.'"

Every station has its own automated Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts updating with current weather information.

The data was originally designed for teachers, but more recently it's been used for emergency responders, Mansouri says.

"We've been implementing it down in Florida, where the project originated, in police barracks and emergency management operations, because they have a responsibility to let their public know where there is threatening or potentially dangerous weather conditions," Mansouri says.

WeatherSTEM also donated stations to Penn State's Arboretum and Park Forest Elementary school.

"This is a great donation and it'll bring a value add to the programing and integrating into the curriculum that we do," says Josh Potter, Shaver's Creek marketing coordinator. "So we're very thankful for the donation and interest in doing this."

The unit is about eight feet high and its battery is powered by solar energy. It will be located in the front yard of the environmental center.

"It will be really interesting to compare our data to the arboretum data on the other side of the mountain, because the temperature is sometimes 10 to 15 degrees colder than the State College side," Potter says.

Potter wants to eventually incorporate an interactive exhibit for visitors in the center's discovery room.

WeatherSTEM has units in every county in Florida, and Mansouri says he has the same goal for Pennsylvania. He wants WeatherSTEM's unit to produce a network of data that will serve teachers, farmers and emergency services across the state.

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Evan Murach is an intern at StateCollege.com and is also a sports reporter for the Daily Collegian. He is currently a Penn State senior majoring in print journalism. Evan enjoys writing about news, baseball, mixed martial arts and boxing.
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