How weather information adds context to field inspections
Adding weather data to field inspection records gives insight about the environmental conditions at the time of the inspection. Weather conditions can have a significant impact on the results of the inspection, particularly in outdoor settings where wind, rain, and temperature can affect the performance of equipment and the behavior of materials. For example, a roofing inspection may reveal a leak during a rainy day, but not during a dry day. Similarly, a soil inspection may reveal different results depending on the moisture content of the soil. By recording weather data at the time of inspection, inspectors can provide more accurate and detailed reports, which can help identify potential issues and recommend appropriate solutions. The integration of weather data into field inspection records can also provide a historical record of weather conditions, which can be used for future analysis and research.
Knowing the weather conditions present at the time of data collection adds important contextual information, but can lead to slower data collection times. In addition, weather observations can be subjective as people interpret weather conditions differently based on their personal experiences, biases, and perceptions. For example, one person may describe a day as “windy,” while another person may describe the same day as “breezy.” Similarly, one person may perceive a temperature as “hot,” while another person may perceive the same temperature as “warm.” Additionally, weather observations can be influenced by factors such as the observer’s location, time of day, and weather equipment used, which can affect the accuracy and consistency of the observation. Therefore, it is important to consider these subjective factors when interpreting weather data and to use standardized measurement techniques to minimize potential biases and errors. Using the Forecast.io API can help get more consistent observations and readings.
Using APIs to include weather data in inspection records
One of the most powerful features of Fulcrum webhooks is the ability to integrate with third party APIs. You can use webhooks to update records in a database, send text messages to field staff, email reports to administration, etc. In our latest guide we’ll show you how to take advantage of webhooks and the Forecast.io API to add spatially relevant weather data to your Fulcrum records.
Our latest guide, Adding Weather Data to Records with Webhooks, walks you through setting up a webhook processing service that will add multiple weather metrics (as few or as many as you’d like) for each new record that is collected in the field.
The general flow for setting something like this up is:
- Create your custom form with some weather fields like temperature, relative humidity, general conditions, etc.
- Sign up for a Forecast.io API key.
- Clone the sample fulcrum-record-weather repo.
- Configure the code in the repo to match your specific form, field names and API keys.
- Deploy your app to Heroku (for free).
- Create a Fulcrum webhook.
Check out the complete guide for a detailed walk-through on how to set something up for your organization. If you’re not quite ready to dive in and take on something like this yourself, contact our integration team.
After signing up for an API key from WeatherAPI.com (free for under 1M calls/month), here’s how you can add weather to your record:
Here we’re listening for the
'change-geometry' event for a record, and then using the REQUEST function to make an API call to weatherapi.com. Once we get the response we parse it as JSON and use SETVALUE to update the form values listed here.
This data event populates weather metrics, but many others are available under Realtime API and could be added as more fields in your app and add the SETVALUE to match.
Some information about WeatherAPI from its website: WeatherAPI offers real-time, forecasted, future, marine and historical weather in JSON and XML, providing a 200ms average response time, bulk request with complete weather API documentation.