Welcome to irontonwebcams
Providing weather, webcams and more since 2003
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|The unabridged story of irontonwebcams|
People talk about the weather eventhough we can't change it.
The advent of computer technology has made it possible for most anyone to do more than just talk about it. All it takes is a person with an interest in the weather and an equal interest in computers. That is the combination that lead to the creation of irontonwebcams.com.
In my case, it was also the desire to see real time weather rather than some generic TV or radio report. That led me to search out web cameras for real time information. The helpfulness of such sites inspired me to create my web site to help others in the same way.
During the time prior to 2006, irontonwebcams was really a limited website with a few simple pages hosted on a personal web space provided by the local dial up ISP.
My first web cam was pointed out a window to show our yard. It was appropriately named the 'yard cam'. Initially it provided a view of a 12 inch dial thermometer and a bird feeder that doubled as a snow board to show new snow accumulations. Over the years the yard cam has been moved from a southern view of our yard to an eastern view of an adjacent farm field. More than a few memorable views have been captured. The yard cam used the most common type of computer camera connection - a USB connected camera with software on the PC to deliver the images to the web site.
The North field view was added second. In order to get a closer view of Lake Charlevoix, it was occasionally equipped with different CCTV zoom lenses. This camera was a D-link wireless network camera, a step up in technology and connectivity. The camera was housed in a homemade enclosure made of 4 inch PVC pipe with AC power supplied by an Uninterpretable Power Supply.
The Driveway view came third. I attempted to show winter snow depth along the road and sky conditions to the west. The Driveway camera is a Hawking wired network camera (much the same as the D-Link) housed in a heated - fan cooled commercial enclosure.
Soon after the cameras were put on my web site (~2003), I purchased a LaCrosse WS2310 weather station. The system included a desktop console with external units for temperature & humidity readings (thermo/hygrometer base), wind speed and direction (anemometer), and rainfall.
The LaCrosse unit used a computer based software (Heavyweather) to collect and transmit data to the website.
During this time frame, I offered my camera images and weather data to a number of other websites. The first such site was probably johndee.com which focused on snow sports in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Over the years to follow, I have added several more websites that use my weather data and camera images.
In 2006, irontonwebcams.com came into formal existence on a hosted server with more robust web pages. Soon after this, and after several years of use, the LaCrosse unit experienced some difficulty with signal interference that resulted in unreliable wind speed readings. Then, a short time later, a lightning strike apparently damaged the console unit communications ports.
The problems with the LaCrosse unit lead to the purchase of a Davis Vantage Pro2 system in January 2007. This system, like the the LaCrosse, includes a desktop console but with a solar powered integrated sensor for the rain collector, temperature and humidity sensors, and anemometer.
Unfortunately, much of the data prior to 2007 was not easily transferable to the new unit software - a program called Virtual Weather Station (VWS) to collect and transmit data to the website. With this software, I began to send data to the Weather Underground web site under the station ID of KMICHARL5.
Today, the weather station and five web cameras capture live weather from our location a mile west of Ironton and publishes them to www.irontonwebcams.com. Many other web sites.use these cameras and weather data too
The site is ad free to provide weather related information and perhaps make a connection along the way - and we do hear from some of our web site users. On occasion someone will walk or bike past our location, wave and say thanks for the web site. A few times each year we get an email with questions or comments. For example:
- An email came from a pilot that appreciated another source of weather data for the area;
- A few emails have told that grade school students have used the site as part of a class project.
- In one email, a local service person wrote that "seeing the pictures was as if I was back home again."
- During the winter storm in March 2011 we lost power for 3 days and a person came to the house to say thanks because they were unaware of the outage and came to check their resort home .
It's just a hobby and I don't take it 'too' serious but I try to make it accurate and helpfull. But as always, I say, Never base decisions on information obtained from this website.
Thanks for visiting irontonwebcams.
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