A Weather Update: Crowdsourcing

The Weather Channel, the leading source of weather news on the internet with its site, weather.com, has acquired Weather Underground which crowdsources much of its forecasts from their audience of weather enthusiast.

Among many of the crowdsourced information that Weather Underground sources from its network, it allows community members to upload and share photographs of weather conditions, upload blogs, and an interactive weather map that allows users to create their own custom weather maps of conditions.

All told, Weather Underground has the world’s largest network of personal weather stations (23,000 in the US and 13,000 around the world) that allow for custom weather reporting.

It will be interesting to see how weather.com folds Weather Underground’s buffet of weather information into its offerings. For now, things like the weather blog will remain on Weather Underground, but the company also reported that it was excited about the new resources and opportunities that will arise as a result of the merger (perhaps mobile-based reporting).

Of course, Weather Underground isn’t the only site that is crowdsourcing weather reports. The mobile application, Weddar, keeps things simple and just asks its users to keep it real and keep it informal. The weather reports are all updated by people who are sharing location-based reporting, making requests, and sharing. And, eschewing traditional information and instead reporting how it feels (anything from “Hell” to “Great”), but not temperature or wind chills or other information.

With weather being such an unpredictable commodity as it is, is there any problem with asking the public for their own take on the weather? What do you think the value of immediate weather reporting is?

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