Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message
Storm Highway by Dan RobinsonClick for an important message

May 6: Vehicle technology installation photos

As promised, here are a few shots of our new vehicle configuration. If you're a storm photographer also heading to the Plains, we want to extend an invitation to log on to our new Storm Highway Mobile Network when you're nearby. This season, our vehicle will be equipped with an onboard WIFI hotspot and web server. The server will maintain a current cache of frequently used weather data (updated as long as we have a cellular signal), such as SPC outlooks, satellite imagery and mesoscale discussions. The cached pages will be stored onboard the vehicle on one of our laptops acting as a web server, so that the pages will be available regardless of whether or not our cellular internet is up. If our cell connection has been unavailable for a long time, the data might not be very current, but it will still be there for viewing.

To access our network, park near our vehicle (or just get behind us at a safe distance on the highway) and connect to the 'Storm Highway Mobile Network'. It is an open (unsecured) network. Then, open your web browser and you should see a 'mobile' version of Storm Highway. From there just follow the 'internet access' link to the cached data. You can even browse some of our photos and video clips hosted onboard the vehicle server. If our cellular internet is working (if we are within a data coverage area) you can browse the web or check email, although it will probably be slow, especially if we are moving. If you connect to us while we are in motion on the road, all we ask is that you do it safely - that is, stay behind us at a safe distance (not alongside us) and have one of your passengers operate the laptop. Our vehicle is a silver 2005 Ford Freestyle wagon/SUV crossover with Storm Highway lettering.

If we meet you at a 'observer convergence', you are welcome to connect to our network for as long as you like. If we have internet, feel free to check your email and browse light-bandwidth weather web sites. Of course, we ask that you not try downloading anything huge (video, large photos, FTP, etc) as the bandwidth is limited.

So with that said, here are the photos! Click on the thumbnails for large versions.

Tom tries out the second Jotto desk. Updated power/comm console and right rear LCD monitor #3. Linksys router will broadcast our WIFI network. DVD (guess which) playing on monitor #3.

First and second Jotto laptop desks. Left rear LCD #2 switched to GPS navigation. Monitors #2 and #3 can be switched to DVD feed.

LCD monitor #1 serves as the driver's GPS display, fed from computer #2 in the second row. This frees up computer #1 to be dedicated to Baron ThreatNet radar. RIGHT: Monitor #3 switched to ThreatNet radar feed from front computer.

Closeup of ThreatNet radar on LCD #3.

A big thanks to Tom Mullins for helping to set this system up and making the ideas a reality.

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