Apr 25, 2020
UF weather alert website for farms now mobile-friendly, among other updates

The Florida Automated Weather Network, a University of Florida-operated service aiding agricultural decision-makers statewide since 1997, just relaunched its website with a new look and additional user-focused features.

“Our main goal in revamping the site was to make it more efficient for users,” said Rick Lusher, UF/IFAS project manager for the Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN). “One of the most important changes is the now-seamless integration to mobile platforms, meaning users can access the same information straight from their phones.”

The FAWN network includes 42 stations located from Jay to Homestead that record and report every 15 minutes on information like air temperature, winds and rainfall. Some stations are even adding data from newer technologies like soil moisture sensors, with plans to expand these offerings to more locations. Producers are then able to use their nearest stations’ localized information to assist with decisions like crop and landscape irrigation, freeze protection, and chemical application.

Upon entering the new website, which maintains the same web address at fawn.ifas.ufl.edu, another new feature prompts users to allow location services to pinpoint the data to their nearest station. The website has always had a map feature, but Lusher explained that the site now utilizes interactive technologies that allow the user to filter for current conditions, as well as layer features like county lines and radar.

Lusher said he consulted on ideas for the site with UF/IFAS faculty like Charles Barrett, a regional specialized water resources agent based in Live Oak, who regularly advises growers on best practices given the information provided by the website.

“The new look to the FAWN website makes it easier to access the data growers have come to rely on,” Barrett said, explaining that he advocated for the updates creating minimal disruption for regular users. “The changes streamline the use of the website, so it should be a better user experience, but with the same feel as the previous website.”

Kirsten Romaguera, University of Florida

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