Quantifying Cloudiness with OpenCV

What Can I see From the Shard?

The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe, and has a great view of London.  The condos in the building are very expensive, and a tourist ride to the top of the building costs £24.95.

Since the value of the view is so high, [Willem] wanted to quantify the quality of the view at any given time. His solution is the Shard Rain Cam. This device combines a Logitech webcam with a Raspberry Pi to capture a time-lapse set of images. These images are fed to a Python script using OpenCV which quantifies the cloudiness.

[Willem] also had to build a weatherproof enclosure with a transparent window for the camera and RPi. ‘Clingfilm’, which is British for saran wrap, and mineral oil is used to improve the waterproofing of an IP54 rated enclosure.

The resulting data is displayed on www.whatcaniseefromtheshard.com, which provides an indication of whether or not the view is worth £24.95. All of the Python code is available, and is a good starting point for learning about image processing with OpenCV.

12 thoughts on “Quantifying Cloudiness with OpenCV

    1. You drown everything in mineral oil to prevents water getting in, and everything will run happily dunked in the stuff. But I am not sure if potting it, or something similar might have been a better solution.

        1. It does, but it’s not very durable. In fact, it’s rather fragile. Additionally, since you must spray the product onto whatever you’re liquidproofing, some of it will get into the environment if you do not contain it, meaning it is unwise to use it on your house. Additionally, both the top and bottom coats are extremely flammable, greatly increasing your risk of fires. The bottom coat contains hexane, which has been referred to as a potential carcinogen, and has a known hazardous, systemic effect on human beings. However, it only contains hexane in low quantities. Regardless, if you release enough of it into the air (about 17 pounds), you will have to report it. The videos they’ve released to advertise their product show them spraying it into the open air. Please contain it.

          References: http://www.spillcontainment.com/sites/default/files/Ever%20Dry%20MSDS%20-%20Top%20Coat%20-%2010-12-12.pdf MSDS sheet for the top coat
          http://www.spillcontainment.com/sites/default/files/Ever%20Dry%20MSDS%20-%20Base%20Coat%20-%2010-12-12.pdf MSDS sheet for the bottom coat
          http://web.archive.org/web/20070519002303/http://www.nsc.org/ehc/chemical/N-Hexane.htm Hexane info

        2. Yes, its like in the video. Some solvents like alcohol can degrade the coating. Typically the degradation is reversed when its dry again.

  1. Cool project. Couldn’t you also just scrape visibility data from an aviation site? But if the goal was to come up with something independent of others’ work, then this is a neat solution.

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