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SD Mesonet Station Hosting: Frequently Asked Questions

view of new brookings weather station with fields and stadium in background

Click on the questions below to see their answers.

While not always possible, the ideal site has the following characteristics:
  • Relatively flat, open acre
  • No obstructions (bushes, fences, tree rows, structures, etc.) within a distance of ten times their height
  • No pavement or crops within 100 feet
  • No structures within 300 feet
  • Soil common to the area
  • Not in a high spot or a low spot
  • Not too close to irrigation, lakes, etc.
  • Accessible year round with a truck
  • At least one bar of Verizon signal
  • The equipment is contained within a fence about 32x32 feet in size. The station needs empty, weed-free grass within 100 feet (no pavement or crops) and no structures within 300 feet.
    The intent is to operate the station indefinitely. The modern SD Mesonet station currently on the South Dakota State University campus started with manual temperature and precipitation in the 1880’s when it was Dakota Agricultural College in the Dakota Territory.
    After a few days of construction, the station will typically need a visit by SD Mesonet technicians every few months.
    A 50-year easement is standard. This can be waived for public land that is reasonably expected to be a long-term host.
  • The tower is about 33 feet tall
  • There are three permanent concrete piers
  • A camera is deployed (it can be restricted to not show a private residence)
  • Small amounts of pesticides are used
  • A soil pit will be dug nearby by soil scientists to help us put our soil moisture readings into context
  • We ask the landowner to keep the grass within 100 feet weed free. A phone call is appreciated if anything looks damaged.
    No utilities are required. The station is solar-powered and uses a cellular communications system.
  • You will have a top-of-the-line weather station on your property
  • You will have a full soil survey conducted by soil scientists with samples analyzed by the top soil lab in the country
  • It may improve the value of your property (consult a real estate agent or appraiser for accurate information)
  • A voluntarily donated easement benefiting the public may have tax benefits (consult a tax professional for tax determinations)
  • You will be carrying on a long line of volunteerism that has been an important part of American meteorology since Thomas Jefferson
  • If something you need to know is not answered here, please Contact Us. We look forward to hearing from you about your thoughts as the Mesonet goes through this statewide expansion over the coming years.