News & Media

DPIRD weather stations upgrade ready for rollout

Released on

Released on:
Friday, 2. June 2023 - 15:00

An upgrade of the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) automated weather station network will commence next month.

DPIRD’s network of 170 automatic weather stations and radars provide important weather data to assist growers and regional communities make more-informed decisions.

The department’s eConnect+ project manager Darren Gibbon said the project involved upgrading weather stations from 3G to a 4G ‘sub-band’, offering low power consumption and covering wide areas - making it ideal for WA’s regions.

WA-based company Unidata has been awarded the contract to assist with the rollout.

“This work will ensure DPIRD’s network of weather stations continues to provide ongoing near real-time weather information across WA,” Mr Gibbon said.

“After Telstra announced the discontinuation of its 3G network, DPIRD undertook an extensive evaluation of new 4G equipment to ensure appropriate upgrades to enable continued service delivery from its State-wide weather network.

“Most of DPIRD’s existing weather stations run on 3G and it is vital the upgrades are completed prior to June 2024.

“The technology is known as CatM-1, a form of Low Power Wide Area Network or LPWAN technology that provides 4G connectivity.”

DPIRD station data includes air temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and direction, with most stations also measuring incoming solar radiation to calculate evaporation.

“Our network of automated weather stations and radars are important tools for growers and regional communities, as they provide timely, relevant and local weather data,” Mr Gibbon said.

Mr Gibbon said the 4G rollout will start in July, with estimated completion by the end of the year.

“As each weather station is upgraded, we anticipate an outage of approximately an hour at that site, as old equipment is removed, the new hardware installed and existing sensor reconnected,” he said.

Unidata General Manager Matt Saunders said Unidata would be manufacturing the equipment at its factory in O’Connor.

More information on DPIRD’s weather station network is  available here.


Five men around a field weather station.
Unidata senior communications engineer Clint Barnes and general manager Matt Saunders with the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development’s senior technical officer Phil George, eConnect+ project manager Darren Gibbon and research officer Ian Foster, at a weather station in Floreat.

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