The public will be enlisted in a bid to track the weather, with the City of Greater Bendigo hoping to monitor storm events rolling into town.
The idea will be made possible through a collaboration with La Trobe University, with the organisations setting up a new type ofinternet infrastructure in Bendigo, complete with free public access gateways across town.
The council’s manager of regional and sustainable development Trevor Budge said quite a lot of people had their own home electronic weather stations.
“They do their own recording of the temperature and rainfall. This is beyond a simple rain gauge. You can buy these for about $200,” he said.
The idea is to connect home weather stations to a central online map, allowing the public to track weather events in real time instead of relying on a single Bureau of Meteorology rain gauge at the Bendigo Airport.
“I know myself that when it’s raining at my house and it’s not out at the airport there’s no record of it anywhere in Bendigo,” Mr Budge said.
“A lot of people, including farmers, want more up to date information.
“We are particularly interested in this at the council for emergency situations, like when we would need to track how much rain has fallen in the upper part of the Bendigo Creek catchment, and how much flooding we can anticipate downstream.”
Mr Budge is confident of getting 100 people contributing data from their weather stations, with plans to set up within the next 12 months.
La Trobe University is currently rolling out its ‘internet of things’ network infrastructure, with public access gateways that will work in a similar way to Wi-Fi, except with a signal that carries for long distances.
La Trobe’s Simon Egerton said the network will be ideal for a new generation of devices that use less energy and batteries than those harnessing Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and Bluetooth.
He said these devices could only send smaller amounts of information per message, but would be ideal for people like farmers who wanted to monitor their land or families and health groups monitoring the elderly people living at home.