J1.3 Bob Ryan and the History of the Earth Networks Weather Network

Monday, 8 January 2018: 12:00 AM
Ballroom B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Mark Hoekzema, Earth Networks, Germantown, MD

Bob Ryan and Earth Networks were partners before the Internet. Started as Automated Weather Source, Inc., Earth Networks found an early partner in Bob Ryan and WJLA Channel 4 in Washington, DC. Automated Weather Source had begun deploying automated weather stations at schools so the data could be used to support math and science education (STEM was not a recognized acronym at that time). The weather stations were connected via phone modem. Early on Bob, saw the value of the data for local news broadcasts, bringing local community based weather information to viewers. The adoption of these services by WJLA and stations that followed led to explosive growth in the size and extent of the network in the U.S. Throughout, the network was adapted to a variety of new technologies. Today, data from the network is used by millions of customers, supporting a wide variety of government, commercial and personal applications. The presenter will review the history of the network Bob played a central role in getting started and how changing technology, business practices and the environment shaped and have been shaped by this network of 8,000 commercial weather stations.
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