Congratulations to Jim Wyman and the Esperanza Weather Center
Weather Station in Lexington Park, Maryland, for your selection as WXForum.netís Featured Weather Web Site for Fall, 2008!
Jim's site went live in the spring of 2006. His station uses an Oregon Scientific WMR-968 suite for hisy main weather data, a Boltek Lightning Detection system for lightning detection, and two Logitech Pro 9000 cameras mounted (in Halogen light fixtures) outside for current sky and ground view and bird feeder. He currently has an Ambient Weather Passive Radiation Shield which he plans to modify for FARS operation. His rain gauge has been modified to include a heater to melt frozen precip on those cold days.
Jim uses Virtual Weather Station software to display and upload all his data. He says "When I first got into this hobby and was researching software, it seemed to be the most complete at that time. I liked its' graphics and many other options."
For his website development, Jim uses Microsoft Expressions Web, DHTML Menu Studio for his menuing system and JAlbum for his photo gallery.
Jim says his motivation behind having his site on-line was "So I could win this award.
" and he quickly follows with: "Seriously, I enjoy creating things for people that they can use and benefit from. We are somewhat far enough away from Washington DC that the TV stations don't' include our weather conditions all the time, especially when big storms roll through. I even have the Naval Air Station 4 miles away that uses my weather data to do engine run-up tests for aircraft.
In short, I just really like creating and developing things that help others out and that they enjoy using."
What other websites inspired or influenced Jim's design? He says, "Wow, this is a tough one. There are so many great sites out there that I have drawn pieces from. Besides all the great scripts, I would say FifeWeather.co.uk, LightHouseweather.com, and blackmoreWeatherStation.com got me started years ago. I have seen so many great sites that "tickle" the thought process, I'd have to say just about everyone helped!"
His plans for the immediate future include, upgrading his passive radiation shield to a FARS unit.
In the longer term, he plans to upgrade to a Davis system at some point and possibly add a Wireless Cam on the roof.
Jim sends data to WeatherUnderground, CWOP, Weather For You, AWEKAS, Mid-Atlantic Weather Network, and lightning data to StrikeStar.
How did Jim get interested in weather? He says,
"I have always gotten excited by seeing approaching thunderstorms and winter blizzards when I was very young. I would find this one Time-Life book on Weather that I would take out of the school library EVERY week. They should have just let me have it! LOL! That book had really neat experiments and projects which showed you how to build weather equipment and I loved that!
I remember being in top of a hill in our neighborhood with a fast approaching thunderstorm coming. I was riding a bicycle with training wheels
on it and can recall racing down that hill to get home and the training wheels NEVER touching the ground... LOL! Talk about impact!"
Jim's most rewarding aspect of having a weather website is seeing people truly enjoy and benefit from the service that he provides locally. Also, this has driven him to seek formal post graduate education from Penn State in this area of interest, Meteorology.
Jim's advice to someone wanting to get started in weather watching as a hobby is "Research, study, and above all, have fun! You obviously must be driven by the love of weather and its affects..."
His advice on weather website design is:
"Keep It Simple! Elegance and simplicity are the key words. I have seen sites with so much information from every place in the world which you have to scroll miles down to see. Try to get a feel of what would be useful for those around you in your neighborhood and area. Then add on from that point. Keep screen scrolling down to a minimum if possible. I like sites which don't have to update their entire screen every time you make menu selections. I tried to limit information changes to 1 area of the screen and keep the rest of the screen static."
Jim just turned 50 several weeks ago. He loves music and has been singing in a Southern Gospel trio for 15 years. He has been playing piano since 6 yrs old and continues to play today in a church praise band. He provides software engineering support to the US Navy for combat systems and IFF equipment. He works for Booz Allen Hamilton. He has worked with computers ever since he graduated from college ('83).
Jim says: "As I state in my credit section of my website, I give everyone thanks for helping me out in setting this station up and maintaining it, but I give my Lord Jesus Christ the credit for giving me the inspiration and the wisdom to study and marvel at His creation, weather."
Congratulations, Jim and your Esperanza Weather Center
, for being selected by your peers as WXForum.netís Featured Weather Web Site for Fall, 2008!
Congratulations also, to all our outstanding nominees -- your efforts have not gone unnoticed!