Webcams - finding a better way

By: GWBoone , 8:16 PM GMT on May 15, 2013

For my first blog entry I figured commenting on my latest effort to implement a better set up for posting the weather pictures for my PWS site would be a good starting point.

In January of this year, I added a dLink DCS 932L camera to my home network for the purpose of posting weather condition shots from my home to my wundergound PWS page. The camera features make it convenient to post the pictures to wunderground via FTP. However, with the convenience came a small price in consuming bandwidth on my home network as the FTP process from the camera was posting on a constant basis. Upside, some great 24 hour videos of weather events on my PWS page. Downside, even a small constant use of bandwidth does tend to interrupt other network needs on something as small as a home network. So, what to do?

After evaluating options ranging from new cameras, updating firmware and maybe even giving up on posting pictures, it occurred to me The PWS weather camera settings provides the option to use a URL for the image rather than FTP.  I settled posting the camera image to a shared location on my local network and making the file available to wunderground.  The theory being using my local area network for the 'heavy' lifting of sending the picture to the shared location and reserving the consumption of wide area network / internet bandwidth to the smaller task of wundergound requesting the picture in 10 minute intervals. Upside, much better use of the home network. Downside, the very detailed 24 hour videos compiled on my PWS site would have much less detail than before the change. As the videos would be made of images at 10 minute intervals over a 24 hour period, this seems to be not a bad trade off after all.

The posting of the picture to a share on the local network is possible by using my Seagate network attached storage (NAS) device as the share that will receive the FTP of the file from the d’Link IP camera. A few simple changes in the camera set up and step 1 completed. Pictures are being posted just as I had hoped – from the camera across my LAN to the share on the NAS

On to step 2, updating my PWS weather camera information to use the URL of my shared drive for wunderground to collect the image. This is where things got interesting, maybe even a little complicated and is surely the reason I am making a blog entry on this little project. It is my hope the remainder of the entries, experience gained and satisfaction in achieving the outcome will serve as helpful information for anyone who wants to head down the same or similar path. I am sure there are simpler, more streamlined approaches to this goal, but, if you take a look, May 11 & 12 in my region the forcast was rain, cloud and generally just not great outdoor conditions. Why not spend the weekend tinkering, learning and tinkering and learning some more.

The next blog entry will explain how I handled the sharing of an image file when the fact is that my NAS is not necessarily available from the public network. Until then, this is a link to the videos from January to April of this year when the camera was FTPing the files to wunderground.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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7:55 PM GMT on May 16, 2013
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About GWBoone

I have benefited from many other blogs, wikis, and forums. I hope there are nuggets in this blog wunderground users find helpful.

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Elevation: 69 ft
Temperature: 32.6 °F
Dew Point: 18.0 °F
Humidity: 55%
Wind: 8.0 mph from the NW
Wind Gust: -
Updated: 7:09 PM AST on February 26, 2017

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