ABOUT

What Is It?

WX Maps are a Raspberry Pi based aviation weather map that displays various airport conditions in your local area. These conditions are displayed on a sectional map for an easy, at a glance, look at local weather conditions.

The map can be configured and controlled via website, or Bluetooth and our mobile app.

Our software is special in that we can configure different conditions for our lights to display. This allows us to do things like show the flight category and if the winds are above a specific threshold.

All of our software is Open Source.

How It Works

The main component behind the WX Map is an LED called a 'neopixel'. This is an addressable light that can display any color in the rainbow. These lights are chained together in order to display data about an airport. Everything else in the system exists to control these LEDs!

The main computer is called a Raspberry Pi. This is a single board computer that has a very small footprint and draws very little power. It's just like a regular computer and has onboard WiFi, USB, HDMI, and Bluetooth.

The Raspberry Pi also has a connector that allows circuit boards to be plugged into it. These are known as HATs, Hardware Attached on Top. The WX Map control board is a HAT that helps control the LEDs.

Construction

To create your own WX Map all you need to do is determine what size frame you want and what area you want inside your frame. You can use a paper sectional or you can utilize the FAAs raster charts to make your own size/scale. You can find the charts on the FAA's website.

Once your frame is assembled you can determine what airports you want to light up. All weather data is fetched from aviationweather.gov so make sure all airports you want to display return METAR data from the site.

Lastly you can order your kit. You'll need a Raspberry Pi, the Controller Board, and 1 LED per airport and 2 LED interconnect cables per LED (1 for input, 1 for output). Everything can be mounted in our enclosure which comes with a power and output connectors.

Once your kit arrives all you need to do is glue the LEDs to your section - making careful note of the input/output sides. Keep in mind you will be chaining each light together so it's a good idea to label the lights in the order they'll be connected.

Resources

The software is open source and mostly written in node/typescript. All components are  fall under the github group wxmaps. Contributions are welcome! Every little bit helps.

  • wx-maps-server
    • The big kahuna! Responsible for fetching weather, updating LEDs, bluetooth communications, and provides an API to the client.
  • wx-maps-client
    • A web client hosted on the device that can be used to configure and view weather data.
  • wx-maps-os
    • Various OS config files and utilities (eg services, installer etc)
  • wx-maps-mothership
    • Provides a way for users to access their web client via a consistent address
  • wx-maps-mobile
    • Mobile app used to configure and view map status.