A Customisable Weather Forecast
Written by Jeff Broth   
Thursday, 27 April 2023
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A Customisable Weather Forecast
Create A Dashboard View

Having an accurate weather forecast is critical for many situations, in particular for deciding weather conditions are suitable for to deploy infrastructure inspection drones. This project pulls weather event data in real time to be displayed on a custom dashboard.


The widespread use of drones has certainly livened up our day to day experiences.  From creating record breaking animations, to seeing the world from a different perspective; from introducing new ways to film movies, to vastly improving the quality and cost of infrastructure inspection, drones are here to stay.

For those less involved in artistic capabilities and more interested in how to improve your business, the use of drones can be groundbreaking.  However, drones aren’t always as reliable as we assume when using them for something new.  One of the biggest uses of drones in business is implementing inspection protocols, whether for wind turbine blades or the undersides of bridges.  Essentially anywhere a human needs to look closely at something and assess its current condition, which offers a lot of opportunities.  Drones are most effective going places where it is either difficult or impossible to send a human or camera on their own.  Instead of creating a system of scaffolds, harnesses, winches, and ladders, you can feasibly send a drone up to take 4K video, broadcast in real time so the inspector can direct the drone to investigate further if needed, and the entire process is easy and doesn’t put the inspector in danger.  It’s a clear win, and yet there is one big obstacle—the weather.

While humans can work in windy and rainy conditions, many drones cannot.   Many aspects of weather can cause a drone to malfunction and even crash, from wind, rain, cold temperatures, and even humidity.  Further, many commercial drones are not rated for even moderate levels of moisture, and all have physical limitations depending on wind severity.  This lack of reliability might be fine for a casual flight, but not for a business with deadlines.  However, accurate prediction of weather conditions can allow businesses to work around the weather and be ready to take their drone to the air when conditions are clear.  This can be somewhat frustrating still, but the amount of benefits drone-based inspections provide (both in money and safety) largely outweigh the costs if the business can accurately predict the weather.  The good news is it is incredibly simple to plug into a weather API from services such as Tomorrow.io and customize a forecast specifically on the weather elements most important to a task such as drone inspection, and for a localized area where the inspection will take place.

Setting Up Forecasted Weather Events with an Easy-to-Read Dashboard

This tutorial provides all the details needed to set up your own weather insights dashboard, specific to the weather events of interest and for the precise location you need to monitor.


This tutorial uses an events endpoints collection to pull forecasted weather event data in real time.  It will result in a constructed single page react web app, which will create an insight-driven dashboard that will lay out forecasted events of concern across a horizontal timeline using the Google Charts library.


Retrieve API Key

For this example we are using Tomorrow.io, so you will need to sign up to get your API key, then enter it at the prompt to gain access to the data.


Select the Location

This particular API call is quite flexible in determining the location, and allows various methods for listing the exact place of interest.  You can use a predetermined “locationID” from the system, the GeoJSON “geometry” element, or you can get hyperlocal by using a “latlong” pair to target an exact point (such as a wind turbine farm or a particular bridge).wd3

Select the Insights Needed for The Forecast

For this step, it is important to use the service’s list of insight ID’s you wish to view, such as wind, temperature, floods, etc.  You can also include a “safety buffer” to include the surrounding area which may help to identify forecasted events that aren’t predicted to affect your area, but could move into your area if the forecast is slightly off due to weather changes.


Request the Data from Endpoint

This last step on the data side will request the data to the “GET/POST events endpoint,” which will output a “result” JSON response that has the data collection matching requested events for the location you’ve specified.  It can be helpful to add a timer to this request (5 minutes is common) to continuously refresh the updates.



Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 April 2023 )