Weather stations sourced locally for sites worldwide

PROUD INVENTOR: Environdata founder Peter Rodeck shows off the Weathermaster, which is now 18 years old.
PROUD INVENTOR: Environdata founder Peter Rodeck shows off the Weathermaster, which is now 18 years old. Erin Smith

IT MIGHT be run out of two small houses on Percy St, but Environdata is no small operation, shipping its weather systems and equipment right around the globe.

But business founder Peter Rodeck said exporting around the world had never been his intention when he first opened the doors 30 years ago.

Mr Rodeck, an electrical engineer by trade, had never been to the Southern Downs or even lived in Queensland before he decided to set up his shop in Percy St.

But after spending 10 years in the electrical industry in Melbourne, he decided he wanted to escape the pace of the big city.

"I wanted to leave the big city and I came up here with the Total Health and Education Foundation," he said.

"Our aim was to start businesses that didn't conflict with the existing local businesses."

Mr Rodeck's goal was to become licensed to build weather stations for the CSIRO.

"After three years of messing around we managed to get the licence," he said.

"Our aim was to grow the company.

"We used to think $1 million a year was a dream now we are reaching close to double that."

It was not until 1990 that Environdata started to make a name for itself on a worldwide scale.

"We don't market to America or the European Union, but outside that name a country and we have a weather system in it," Mr Rodeck said.

"We handle service calls from Iraq, have dozens in Africa and have got plenty in Indonesia and the Philippines.

"They pop up everywhere within Australia, including on top of the Sydney Centre Point Tower."

In 2000 Mr Rodeck realised that his business had outgrown the small house at number 44 Percy St.

So he bought the house next door, which is now used as a storage and tool room.

Environdata now employs 11 people, including Mr Rodeck.

They each have a different role from administration manager, programmers, operation manager, technician and parts purchasing.

But what do the weather stations actually do?

Depending on the model and design they can measure everything from rainfall, to wind speed, wind direction, relative humidity, solar radiation and barometric pressure.

Originally they were predominately used by the agriculture industry and for scientific research.

But Mr Rodeck said a much wider range of industries had since found a use for them.

"They are used by mining, industrial, scientific researchers, the agriculture industry, feedlots - just about anyone who is affected by the weather," he said.

But the look and shape of weather stations is not the only thing that has changed over time.

Mr Rodeck said the company had come up with many new designs over the years, with the newer ones making use of technological advances.

"The original storage of a unit was 1800 bytes, now it is 64 megabytes," he said.

"Nearly all the equipment is solar-powered and half of the equipment has some form of communication capabilities, including mobile phone links or direct cables, SMS alerts and alarm capabilities.

"The product is a basic kit of parts that we configure for different applications.

"One design can last us up to 10 years.

"Each new design is really about making use of new generation equipment and technology. Product development never stops."

The testing and collaboration of the weather stations is done across the road from their offices in the empty council-owned paddock.

Mr Rodeck said newly-built weather stations were placed in the paddock - under the same conditions to double check they are all getting the same readings.

Permanently standing in the site is a weather station with a 10m tall mast.

Mr Rodeck said this station, which measures wind speed, wind direction, humidity, grass temperature, rainfall and even evaporations, feeds information to the Warwick Weather website.

"As this weather station is placed in Warwick it gives a better picture of what is happening closer to the city as opposed to the Bureau of Meteorology's station which is out at the Hermitage Research Station," he said.

Topics:  environdata meteorology

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Byron solar train stays on track

ROLLING: Byron Bay Railway Company's solar train.

Solar train stays on track in Byron Bay

Byron Bay are finals bound

PITCH PERFECT: Byron Bay's Levi Shouldice took 5-42 against Lennox Head on Saturday.

Byron head for cricket finals.

Boardriders season finally catches a wave

BIG WIN: Bryce Cameron wins the men's open at the Boardriders meet.

Waves arrive for Boardriders kick off

Local Partners