La Trobe gets clever about weather

La Trobe University and the City of Greater Bendigo are teaming up to give Bendigo residents accurate, real-time temperature readings all over the city – and they need members of the community to help.

Utilising the city’s new Internet of Things network, weather sensors are being installed throughout the CBD, at local landmarks, as well as in the yards of interested residents and business-owners.

Local monitoring currently comes through the Bureau of Meteorology’s automatic weather station at the Bendigo Airport. The Clever Weather Project will see up to 100 individual sensors installed throughout Bendigo.

Head of La Trobe’s Technology Innovation Lab in Bendigo, Dr Simon Egerton, said the results of this project could have implications for the way people in Bendigo work and play.

“Our sensors are incredibly accurate and responsive. Once installed, we will be able to give residents a much more accurate reading of the temperature in their local area,” Dr Egerton said.

“We might find that some areas of Bendigo are up to 2 or 3 degrees cooler than others – having implications for the way people plan their day and protect themselves from extreme temperatures,” he said.

Chris Rowlands, Innovation Officer at the City of Greater Bendigo, said the project could also inform Council’s planning.

“More accurate temperature readings will help the City make important decisions on how to best manage heat in the city – such as where we plant trees, how and where we design infrastructure, and improvements to the developments we approve.

“With an understanding of temperature impacts, we can potentially make changes, and investments that will help to cool hotter areas of the city,” Mr Rowlands said.

Members of the community are being invited to volunteer to have sensors installed in their yards or places of work. The team need around 100 sensors spread throughout Bendigo, including in outer suburbs.

“It’s important that we cover the whole city thoroughly, as temperatures might vary significantly from one area to the next,” said Dr Egerton.

The project has been piloted over recent months, with sensors installed at La Trobe’s Flora Hill campus and areas in Epsom in late 2018.

Future development of the project could see additional information gathered like rainfall and wind speeds.

Open source access to the Internet of Things – a network of internet-enabled devices that gather and share data – first became available in Bendigo in 2018, through a La Trobe and City of Greater Bendigo partnership project.

Members of the community interested in the Clever Weather Project can find out more by calling 5434 6155, or visiting http://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/cleverweather

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