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.


  1. dom says:

    Willem Do some work, or i’ll post pictures of you watching ascii pr0n
    (p.s i sit opposite this guy)

  2. Andrew says:

    Err.. I don’t get it. What do you do with the mineral oil?

  3. rasz says:

    That cam needs better optics
    And why histogram? I would suspect clouds affecting sharpness more than color palette. You can analyze sharpness with FFT


  4. Scaramouche says:

    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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