Tech Paper - Weather: This Decade’s Geolocation

Version 2

    “Geo-weather” the next big thing

    Over the last decade, geolocation — the technique of identifying the geographical location of a person or device by means of digital information processed via the Internet — has changed the way we live and do business.

    What’s more, there has been immense value in connecting a business’s assets to specific locations. Connectivity and ubiquity have helped businesses leverage countless reams of geospatial data to triangulate the locations of critical assets, and to monitor and control them in real-time. In the coming decade, similar or even greater value will be derived from knowing the real-time weather impacting or soon to impact an asset’s location.

    Weather drivers


    Location-specific, real-time weather information can significantly impact operational decisions influencing a business’s critical infrastructure. But it depends on its decision makers to decide which weather data to use and over what time period. So while some are interested in historical weather patterns for a given location and how it can influence day-to-day decisions, others may be interested in day-ahead forecasts to provide them with the most value.

    In this paper, we’ll take a look at specific weather data and how it can be used to help organizations improve decisions. First, let's look at specific kinds of weather data and how they can be used to help organizations improve decisions.

    • Long-term climate — regional conditions have significant influence on the siting of key infrastructure and assets. Organizations must understand these long-term patterns and their impact on operating costs over the lifetime of the assets before they can make the best siting decisions.
    • Local weather trends — beyond long-range patterns, these trends support planning budgets and resources in preparation for local and seasonal weather over the coming weeks and months. Knowing that the next winter will have lower than average temperatures or that the summer will be exceptionally dry can help business and organizations to repurpose heating costs, humidifying assets, or asset locations. In another example, if the impending hurricane season is expected to be stronger than normal, utilities can prepare by recruiting storm recovery crews in advance.
    • Current ambient weather — current, location-based weather observations — such as temperature, cloud cover, and humidity — are the most popular data sets with organizations. This information is used to support real-time decisions and optimize operations, such as aiding heating and cooling decisions.
    • Future anticipated weather — this is the second most popular data set for organizations. Knowing what will happen at a location weather-wise has tremendous economic and social value. Use can include day-ahead forecasts in the energy markets or 15-day forecasts to help predict load consumption for building owners. This data can be directly or indirectly linked to billions of dollars in transactions across numerous markets worldwide.
    • Severe weather — the nature of the weather also matters to many organizations. For example, for utility operations, the forecast of fair weather allows managers to predictably modify the behavior of a system if it is required. However, if the impending weather is severe in nature, they must make important decisions to ensure minimum risk to life and property. Severe weather can cause massive economic damage, as shown in the past decade with events like Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and numerous large-scale tornado outbreaks. The social impact of these events is also significant with the destruction and rebuilding of communities and local businesses. So while the weather cannot be controlled, early prediction and improved operational decisions can make a significant difference in the outcome.

    The utilities industry uses Geospatial information extensively to manage assets and perform analytics.

    Next, we’ll take a look at the evolution of weather intelligence and how it can improve efficiencies and operations in the future.

    The evolution of weather intelligence

    In our previous blog in this three-part series, we examined specific kinds of weather data and how they can be used to help organizations improve decisions. Now we’ll take a look at the evolution of weather intelligence and ways it can improve efficiencies and operations in the future.

    Mastering and using geolocation to generate intelligence required an entire generation’s best brains to create analytical and decision support tools. These tools have provided tremendous economic advantages through new business models and effective, real-time asset monitoring. Mastering and generating intelligence around the weather will likely prove similar as the industry leverages the intelligence of the former geospatial generation.

    Future uses of geo-referenced weather data could include:

    • Utilities and Independent Systems Operators (ISOs) could integrate weather data to automatically cycle down wind turbine blade speeds to protect them from an impending storm — no human monitoring of conditions required.
    • Facilities managers at high-tech school campuses using weather forecasts for their precise location can know when to turn on ice melt systems. For example, systems could be turned on late Sunday evening, ensuring clear, safe pathways for Monday morning arrivals.

    Weather web services are useful when you have to analyze data geospatially.

    Just knowing the current weather at a location and acting on it will become a dated means of managing weather threats. As systems instead begin incorporating real-time weather intelligence into decision-support applications, weather-based predictive analytics will become the cornerstone of operational decision-making.

    For more information view our webinar rebroadcast - Improve Situational Awareness With Integrated Weather Information – Click here to view.