Weather data firm gets state fire contract to develop live database

Posted June 27, 2014, at 1:27 p.m.

TRENTON, Maine — A local company that makes weather gauges has landed a contract to help Maine Forest Service keep tabs on fire conditions.

RainWise Inc. will develop and maintain a publicly accessible online database that forest rangers and firefighters will be able to use to keep track of live weather conditions, company officials announced this week.

John Bott, spokesman for Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said Friday that RainWise will receive a total of $83,000 over the three-year life of the contract. The project is funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

RainWise indicated in a prepared statement that the online service, called the Fire Danger Portal, will present live weather information gathered from data collection stations maintained throughout Maine by RainWise and the National Weather Service. Users of the online database also will have access to weather predictions, allowing forest rangers and firefighters to make critical decisions based on up-to-the-minute data, the firm indicated.

In the statement, Bill Hamilton, chief forest ranger and the service’s director of forest protection, said that the forest service currently is using “decades-old” technology for keeping track of live weather conditions.

“RainWise will provide the software, equipment and logistical support to upgrade our current system,” Hamilton said. “With this upgrade the Maine Forest Service will have a new system that is really groundbreaking technology.”

RainWise has been providing Maine Forest Service with other weather-monitoring software for the past 20 years, the company wrote in the release. The employee-owned firm, which last year moved from downtown Bar Harbor to a larger space on Route 3 in Trenton, has a workforce of 19 people.

The firm, which was the first to develop products such as a tipping-bucket rain gauge, a digital weather station, and a wireless weather station, celebrated its 40th anniversary as a manufacturer of weather data systems on June 24.

 

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