Controller – Meteorology Overview

If you live in the UK then you have access to the excellent Met Office DataPoint service. To quote their website:

DataPoint is a service to access freely available Met Office data feeds in a format that is suitable for application developers. It is aimed at anyone looking to re-use Met Office data within their own innovative applications, for example professionals, the scientific community, student and amateur developers.

The hub meteorology sensor type allows us to use met office readings as if they were connected sensors.  This saves us implementing our own physical sensor, which might not be practical, and also gives us access to forecast data without requiring our own super-computer!  For example, if we wanted to know the predicted local temperature, to turn on heating in advance , we can use this facility.

In my opinion this is what elevates the Raspberry Pi to super stardom – the symbiotic combination of global data and local control.

In order to use the service you need to register, but it is free. Once registered you will be allocated an Application Key, which is required for all queries. In addition to your application key, you need to know the location id for your nearest monitoring site and the name code of the parameter you want to measure. Here is a checklist of the required tasks:

  1. Register for a DataPoint Account
  2. Collect your Application Key
  3. Use Key in browser query to obtain a list of sites
  4. Find your nearest site in list – note location id
  5. Populate hub user settings for application key and location id
  6. Use Key in browser query to obtain a list of parameters for that site
  7. Look up the parameter name code for measurement you require
  8. Calculate the look-ahead timespan in minutes e.g. 0, 180, 360, etc.
  9. Assemble your sensor function from the look-ahead and parameter name
  10. Install prerequisites for python
  11. Install the meteorology sensor helper from project repository
  12. Restart Controller
  13. Configure new sensor with sensor function


In the next post I will provide sample browser queries required to set things up.