Windsond graphics

So far I haven’t talked much about the computer software that controls Windsond and visualizes the data. The software is still not completely polished but I can give an idea of what it looks like.

For each launched sond, there are three views.

The first view shows individual data updates from the sond and gives control over sond settings such as detach altitude, radio output power, LED blinking and loudspeaker output. This part is receiving an overhaul right now so I’ll show a screenshot later.

The second view visualizes the status of the sond. This includes the present whereabouts such as battery voltage, altitude and distance travelled, but also graphs that show how radio reception, altitude and ascending speed has developed over time. There’s also a draft graph showing the shape of the flight path as seen from above.

View of sond status. In this example, the altitude curve shows how the sond ascended, then descended more quickly (after detaching from the balloon). When close to the ground, the radio reception was cut off until the chase car came within a few hundred meters of the landing site.

The third view shows weather data as measured by the sond by plotting wind direction, wind speed and temperature against altitude. The Y axis maps altitude and X axis the data at that altitude. The two right-most graphs have additionally a black curve-fitting function overlayed to disregard the uncertainty in individual measurements. The experimental left-most plot visualizes the wind direction at different altitudes using a polar representation, with radius being the altitude.

View of weather data

The sond can be tracked in real-time in Google Earth, something that proved very useful during the World Championship. Google Maps caches recently viewed areas and ready-made maps can also be loaded to enable viewing without mobile internet access.

Path of one launch, showing launch site at top and detach position, predicted landing and actual landing at bottom. This particular launch revealed vertical turbulence over the hill that a regular pibal couldn’t show.

The Windsond software also supports reviewing old sessions, either immediately or replaying the progress at different speeds.

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