Finnish Meteorological Institute Vaisala

Helsinki Testbed project continues with research funding

August 27, 2007

The Helsinki Testbed project has received further funding, which guarantees the project's continual also after the Phase I September deadline. With the new project phase, the main attention is shifted from weather observations to the development of service applications.

"The project was launched in 2005 with the construction of an unusually dense weather observation network in the Greater Helsinki area. The next two-year phase of the project will concentrate on the development of short-term weather forecasting methods and customer applications. The Finnish Meteorological Institute and Vaisala Oyj, together with partners, are continuing as the driving forces behind the project. Insta DefSec Oy has also joined in with its own joint project. Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation is providing part of the funding under their Ubicom technology program," says Heikki Turtiainen from Vaisala.

Dense observation network reinforced with a forecasting system

The development project continues under the name UbiCasting to produce applications that serve citizens, businesses, authorities and industry. Real-time, automatic and location-specific short-term forecasting includes commercialized services tailored for target groups. Customer-focused design produces pilot applications for weather, air quality and traffic weather services.

A production system will be developed to enable the full use of weather data on Helsinki-scale. The system and services are based on the Helsinki Testbed observation network, accommodating short-term forecasting systems to city scale, as well as on the needs of air quality and traffic weather applications. The production chain starts from raw measurement data and leads to automatically generated mobile and web services.

From its early stages, the project has concentrated on weather phenomena that occur within an area of 2-20 kilometers, and last from few minutes to some hours. Despite of their local and short-term nature, weather phenomena like sea breeze, fog, temperature inversion and thunderstorms can be dangerous and deteriorate air quality. An advanced system helps in producing a coherent picture of the prevailing weather conditions. It will include a numerical prediction system with mathematical models as well as real-time observation data feeds from the weather stations, satellites, weather radars and other available sources.

Testbed Phase I ends

The Phase I of the Testbed project, launched in 2005, will end at the end of August 2007. A pilot weather observation network, covering some 150 x 150 km in the Greater Helsinki area, has been producing weather information for citizens, and a great amount of unique observation data for research use. Helsinki Testbed's role in the development and testing of new observation equipment, systems and methods continues.

Juhani Damski, Project Manager at the Finnish Meteorological Institute says that Helsinki Testbed has received a great amount of positive feedback from citizens. The real-time observation information has become very popular. The data will remain accessible at least for the duration of the continuation project, until the end of year 2008. Real-time measurement data as well as history data is available on the Testbed website http://testbed.fmi.fi.

Further information:

Finnish Meteorological Institute, Unit Director Juhani Damski, tel. +358 9 1929 4150
Vaisala Oyj, Project Manager Heikki Turtiainen, tel. +358 9 8949 2261
Insta DefSec Oy, Director Esa Einola, tel. +358 40 772 3007