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Getting the Gear Tips, hints and questions about the best gear to use.

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  #1  
Old 18th February 2013, 11:11 PM
Matt Colman Matt Colman is offline
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Rugged Weather Sensor Package for Outdoors Enthusiasts

Evening Ladies and Gents,

I'm doing a bit of research into a potential Kickstarter project.

First, a bit of background from me; I'm Matt, and I have a strong interest in general mountain sports, mountaineering and product design.

I have an idea for a rugged sensor package to help inform an individual of the current weather conditions around them (without the need for a data connection from a mobile network), using technology they almost certainly already have on them - a smartphone. This will allow them to make sensible, safe, and educated decisions on how they approach their particular sport, be it climbing Via Feratta in the hills or a family camping trip by the river. The package will also include a lighting system that reacts to the environment and where you are in the world.

Whilst I already have a pretty damn good idea what the sensor package will need to include, how it will process the information, and how it will display it to the user/ users etc, I need to get an idea what information members of the outdoors community would want to know whilst they are outside. So, here are some points for discussion:

- What weather information is of use; pressure trends, wind speed, wind chill, temperature, storm alarms, lightning detector... Are these things of use to you or would you rather just be told "The weather isn't looking great, and you'd better wrap up..."?

- The idea is to display the information to your smartphone, from which you can gather the stuff relevant to you. Would you want access to the raw information, or would you want to be able to create custom profiles where only the stuff you care about is shown in the interface?

- What size of product would you want, what carry options would be handiest?

Many thanks for any insight and information you guys want to share!
Kindest Regards,
Matt
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Old 19th February 2013, 05:53 PM
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i'm sorry matt but i would just use the radio , the bbc met office and personal judgment on the day , if your doing via ferrata then your gonna be more than experienced enough to know if you can do a route given the weather you can see or have heard about on the radio,
its all down to personal judgment at the end of the day and thats part of the fun of being in the outdoors "making your own mind up"
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Old 19th February 2013, 11:34 PM
dogrob dogrob is offline
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I think it's a nice idea but like Clunk I like to keep things simple so probably wouldn't be something I would be interested in unless it was dirt cheap and very small/light and easy to use. But in answer to your question about what info would be most the most useful information for me. It would have to be rain prediction for me.
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Old 20th February 2013, 12:33 AM
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good idea but like the others ill look at the weather forecasts, synoptic charts for the day, avalance reports and mountain weather information service
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Old 20th February 2013, 02:50 AM
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Once you're up in the hills or wherever, if you don't know what the weather is doing then you're not paying enough attention, and if you get caught out then you're not properly equipped. Two things would be useful to me though: an altimeter and a barometer. Too much information and it takes away the adventure and takes your focus away from nature and all that is around you, ie the reason to be out in the first place! A power source might be useful for the smartphone as they can be very juicy.
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Old 20th February 2013, 09:08 AM
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I have to agree with the others, I have a barometer/altimeter but I would only use the information from it to confirm what my senses are already telling me, as for it been used by inexperienced walkers/climbers, would they really no how to act on the information from such a device if they had one ?
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Old 20th February 2013, 09:10 AM
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forgot to say barometer is built into gps which also I would never solely relie upon.
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Old 20th February 2013, 10:42 AM
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I think altimeters are really handy for following contour lines, especially in poor visibility. They add that final bit of accuracy to a map and compass. I'm talking about big hills and mountains of course. In the Cambridgeshire fens you wouldn't get any benefit lol!

Essentially Matt's idea is a "Weather Station" that uses the screen of a smartphone as a display monitor. I know some members have those mini weather station gadgets, and this is an extension of that. I guess if you do need specific information this is a good way to display it. It seems more of a budget scientific instrument than a walker's tool, but could be a useful thing to have in a base camp in challenging climates around the world. Perhaps the information you would need in the tropics would be very different to an alpine region? A smartphone app is easily programmable, it's what the plug-in sensor needs to pick up that is the most important thing here.
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Old 22nd February 2013, 03:17 PM
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Hi Matt
I am not a "tekky" so have not a lot to contribute on that side of things technical
My gear consists of a bog standard mobile phone, Garmin ETrex GPS, map, compass, whistle & the latest weather forecast.
I do however read books written by guys who do a lot of "wilderness" walking over long periods and hence distances.
A book I am reading at the moment is "Grizzly Bears and Razor Clams" by Chris Townsend - A trek on the USA Pacific Northwest Trail. Chris always gives a run down on the kit he uses and I list a few items as follows: Kestrel 4500 Weather Station, HTC Desire Smartphone (mainly used for GPS, email & ereader) & a TechTrail altimeter watch along with a Silva compass. Wrap that lot into one and you have cracked it because believe you me none of these guys will carry a extra gram if they don't have to.
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Old 22nd February 2013, 03:21 PM
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Great book by the way with some fantastic photography
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Old 22nd February 2013, 03:38 PM
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That book sounds good. It's going on the reading list!
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