BBC Weather Watchers Frequently Asked Questions

28/11/16

Welcome to BBC Weather Watchers. Below are answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions that have reached us since we launched in November 2015.

LATEST UPDATES

28-Nov-2016 - Photos Near You

New feature - now you can see great weather photos in your area. As of today (28-Nov-2016), you can browse through photos uploaded by fellow Weather Watchers nearby. Simply click the 'Photos near you' link in the menu to get started. Enjoy.

27-Sep-2016 - BBC Account Update

We recently updated our sign-in system to be more robust, reliable and secure than ever before. As part of this update, you will have been asked to sign in to your BBC Account again. For more information on this BBC-wide project, see BBC unveils next stage to make a more personal BBC for everyone and A more personal BBC for everyone.

If you're having trouble signing in, see our Help signing in page. If you still can't sign in, you can also contact the BBC Account team by visiting the Need Help? page, clicking the Still need more help? link and filling out the contact form.

If you have any questions or comments that are not addressed by our FAQs below, our email address is at the bottom of the page. Do not send pictures to this email address - we only accept photos submitted via the Weather Watchers website.

Happy Weather Watching!

Sun shining through the leaves of a tree. Blue sky with white fluffy clouds. Yellow leaves on the ground
Image caption Beautiful autumn day in Fulford York caught by Kerrie on 14 October 2015.

WHO CAN JOIN

Can children join Weather Watchers?

At the moment, Weather Watchers is only open to people who are 16 or older. Parents or teachers are welcome to involve children in their care in the club, but someone who's 16 or older will need to set up and oversee the account.

Can I sign up my weather group?

Yes, provided it's a non-commercial weather group.

Can I sign up my business?

No, sorry. Weather Watchers is for private individuals and amateur weather groups. Commercial enterprises, businesses, charities or organisations are not allowed to join.

GETTING STARTED

Is there an app?

We don't currently have plans to create an app. Weather Watchers is a responsive site so should work on phones. Simply save the url to your homescreen for easy access.

How do I join Weather Watchers?

Go to www.bbc.co.uk/weatherwatchers. If you have a BBC iD, simply sign in using your existing credentials to get started as a Weather Watcher; if you don't, then you'll be asked to create a BBC account and enter a valid email address.

When you create a BBC account, we send you an email to verify your email address. We suggest you do this there and then, as some users have experienced problems if they've left it for a while.

Once you've signed in to your BBC account via www.bbc.co.uk/weatherwatchers, you'll be asked to set your Weather Watchers nickname. This is how you and your home site will be described on the Weather Watchers site and on the BBC if we use your pictures or observations. For example, 'This is from Sue's Garden in Windlesham'. Your nickname can include your first name (no surnames please) and a description of the type of place you're reporting from - e.g. Kulwant's Allotment, Paul's Park.

When choosing your nickname, please keep it clean! We won't accept any profanities or abusive terms.

I can't sign in to Weather Watchers via my BBC iD account. What should I do?

If you're having trouble signing in to your BBC iD account, see Help Signing In.

Can I change my nickname?

Yes. You can change your Weather Watchers nickname by visiting the settings page: https://www.bbc.co.uk/weatherwatchers/settings/.

Why is there a delay in my nickname appearing?

Our team will take a quick look at your nickname to ensure it complies with our House Rules. In the meantime, you'll see 'Nickname being verified' If it's fine, your nickname will appear shortly. If there's a problem, they'll let you know and ask you to pick a different nickname.

How do I set my Home Reporting Site?

Your home reporting site is the default location you generally report the weather from - usually where you live or work. Enter your postcode or a place-name. From the list of places shown, click on the correct - or nearest best - option. Click 'OK, I'm in' and start Weather Watching!

Once I'm signed in as a Weather Watcher, can Weather Watchers work out where I am (ie. geolocate me) if I'm on a mobile device and want to create a weather report?

Yes. When you create a report card you can pick the 'find me' function. The 'find me' option looks like a little wheel. Click on it, and it will use your mobile or tablet's GPS function to geo-locate you. (Check you've got Location Services 'on' or GPS enabled in your device's settings). From the list of places shown, click on the correct - or nearest best - option to show where your report card is for. Currently this is not available outside the UK.

Can I post a report away from my Home Reporting Site?

Yes. When you create a report card, you can choose to locate it at your home reporting site, ask Weather Watchers to 'find me', or pick another UK location. You might choose to pick another location if you've been elsewhere during the day, taken a Weather Watchers picture, and want to upload it later when you're back home, for example.

Can I post from outside the UK?

No this is not something that you can currently do.

How do I use the 'find me' function, or choose to post my report from an alternative location to my Home Reporting Site (for example, if I've been elsewhere during the day)?

The 'find me' option looks like a little wheel. Click on it, and it will use your mobile or tablet's GPS function to geo-locate you. (Check you've got Location Services 'on' or GPS enabled in your device's settings). From the list of places shown, click on the correct - or nearest best - option to show where you're reporting from. To input an alternative location, type in a postcode or a place-name. From the list of places shown, click on the correct - or nearest best - option to show where your report is for.

Does my home reporting site need to actually be my home?

Not necessarily. If you prefer, you can set your home reporting site as a local park, your workplace or another public space you regularly visit. You can enter a UK town, city or postcode.

Will people be able to see exactly where I live?

No, we won't show your exact location. When your report card appears on the Weather Watchers map, it will be within a ½ mile square.

Can I change my home reporting site?

Not yet, but you will soon be able to do this by visiting your settings page: https://www.bbc.co.uk/weatherwatchers/settings/.

Weather Watchers isn't showing my correct home location. What's happened?

Sorry, we know this one is a real issue. Our current locations are based on those that we have available to use on the BBC Weather App and BBC Weather website. If your location is not on there, it won't be on the Weather Watchers site. We do regularly update our locations so we will get finer location detail across all platforms as time goes on.

My home location pin isn't on my exact location, or has moved. Why's that?

Sometimes your pin may not be exactly on your home location. If there are a number of reports posted for the same or similar areas, they bunch or 'cluster' together. If they didn't, the map would be covered in pins and really hard to read. The pins with lines round them are the 'cluster pins'. These have more than one Weather Watchers report posted from that area. If you can't see your report, have a look for one of these cluster pins near your home location, and click on the pin with the lines to explore all the reports within in.

Why do different Weather Watchers seem to be posting the same image on the map?

If a Weather Watcher's report doesn't include a photo, you'll see a generic image instead. This is usually a blue sky or some clouds.

USING MY INFORMATION

Why do you need my email address?

When you register with us, we ask for your email so we can validate your access to the site and for other service administration purposes. From time to time we may also contact a small number of Weather Watchers to ask if they'd like to take part in related TV or radio programmes. We may also contact you to ask further questions about your weather observations. The BBC complies with the 1998 Data Protection Act.

For more information, see the BBC's guide to keeping your info safe & sound.

Will my photos and observations be used on the BBC?

Maybe! By signing up to BBC Weather Watchers, you give permission for us to use information in your weather reports (including photos) across the BBC. Any comments you include in your report are for your records only, so we won't share or use them on air. We will only use your reports in the context of Weather Watchers or weather-related stories. You retain the copyright to photographs that you own and share with us. See below for more information on copyright.

How will I know if you use my photos on the BBC?

If your picture has been used, an 'Editor's Pick' badge should appear on it - see the following answer for more detail.

An 'Editor's Pick' badge has appeared on one of my reports - what does that mean?

An Editor's Pick is a Weather Watchers report card that we may use on TV or online - it may appear on one of our social media feeds or in a picture gallery. In some way, it's helped us to tell the story of the weather where you are - and we want you to know we appreciate it. If your photo has been chosen as an Editor's Pick, you'll see the virtual badge appear on your report card when you next log into Weather Watchers. We're afraid we can't alert you to where it's specifically been used, so keep your eyes on our website, social media feeds, and TV broadcasts. Other Weather Watchers will be able to see if they search through the reports on the map.

How do I protect my privacy online?

When taking weather photos, avoid identifying individual private buildings or homes. Please don't include anything that can directly identify your specific location. For example, no house names or numbers, no street names, no building names, and no descriptions of the location of your house.

When choosing your nickname, use your first name only. No surnames please.

For more information, see the BBC's guide to keeping your info safe & sound.

CREATING A REPORT CARD

How do I create a report card?

Follow the guidance to pick a weather icon and, if you wish, provide other weather data. There are advanced settings for Weather Watchers with data gathering equipment. There's also a comments box, which is for your reference only. Other Weather Watchers won't see what's written here.

If you like, upload a photo from your home site of the weather conditions you're describing.

You can then publish your report card and, if you wish, share it via email or social media. There's guidance on how to do this, if you're not sure.

Within a minute or two, your report card should appear on the nationwide Weather Watchers map. Other Weather Watchers will be able to see your report card (but not your private comments), and you'll be able to see and explore theirs.

Can I upload information from an Automated Weather System?

Not at the moment, but we know lots of you are keen to do this.

How many report cards can I upload every day?

There is no limit to the number of reports that you can post. When you create a new card, it will replace your former card on the map, but you'll keep a permanent record of all your cards on your home page.

Please choose a selection of your best photos. If you post more than several photos a day, you may crowd out other Weather Watchers, and the Photos Near You feature may not show photos from other users in your area. You can post weather data reports more frequently as these do not appear in Photos Near You.

I've made a mistake - can I edit a report card?

We don't offer that at the moment. The best way is to delete the report and start again. You can do this by opening the report and clicking on where it says 'Delete this report' under the report on the right hand side.

Where's my report card?

Sometimes your pin may not be exactly on your home location. If there are a number of reports posted for the same or similar areas, they bunch or 'cluster' together. If they didn't, the map would be covered in pins and really hard to read. The pins with lines round them are the 'cluster pins'. These have more than one Weather Watchers report posted from that area. If you can't see your report, have a look for one of these cluster pins near your home location, and click on the pin with the lines to explore all the reports within it.

I've filled out my report card but it won't post on the website / The button that says "Post this report" is grey and won't let me click on it.

When creating your report card, make sure that you have clicked on a weather symbol to select the current weather condition. If no weather symbol is selected, the "Post this report" button will appear grey. Choose a symbol from the list and the button will turn green - you can now continue posting your report!

Why can't I include a note with my report card?

We're aware that a small number of Weather Watchers are having trouble including a note, when using a tablet or smartphone. Sorry about this - we're working on it and it will be fixed soon. In the meantime, you can still include notes when posting your report on a laptop or desktop computer.

Red leaves on stony path
Image caption Red leaf pathway in Prestatyn, Denbighshire. Photo by Paul Pierce in October 2015.

PHOTOS

What makes a great Weather Watchers photo?

Any photos must be of places NOT of people. We're inviting you to upload your photos of the weather you're experiencing. Pictures should focus on scenery and illustrate the weather you're reporting: a beautiful sunrise, snow on a hedge, the bins blown over by the wind. We will not be able to accept any image that includes identifiable people and/or people in the foreground.

Generally, landscape photos work better on the site than portrait-style photos.

Ideally photos should be a minimum size of 1920 x 1080 pixels for us to be able to use them on the TV, but don't let that stop you uploading smaller pictures. Photos should be no larger than 10 MB (megabytes).

To use a photo, you need to have taken it yourself, or have permission from the person who took it. Breaking copyright law can result in being taken to court. For more information, see the BBC's guide to Copyright.

Obscene or otherwise inappropriate images are absolutely not acceptable and will be removed. Anyone who posts inappropriate images will have their accounts suspended and be required to leave the club. Weather Watchers can report inappropriate photos using a simple link below each report card.

What counts as an inappropriate photo?

Photos should be of places not identifiable people. Anything obscene, offensive or that would be considered unacceptable to be shown to a family audience on the BBC should not appear on the Weather Watchers site. Weather Watchers can report inappropriate photos for removal (see below).

How do I report an inappropriate image?

Each report card features an 'Inappropriate photo?' link. Click on this if you feel the image should not be part of the Weather Watchers site. Our moderation team will take it from there.

The photo on my report card has disappeared - what's happened?

You may have uploaded an image that doesn't comply with our house rules. Our moderators will have sent you an email explaining why it was removed, and how to resubmit an appropriate photo.

I've been told one of my report cards contains an inappropriate image - what do I do?

You should have received an email explaining why the image was removed. You're welcome to upload an alternative photo that complies with the house rules, and resubmit the report card. If the moderators feel there is deliberate misuse of the site, your account may be suspended and/or you may be asked to leave Weather Watchers.

I took a photo earlier - can I change the date on the report card?

Yes - when you create a report card, you can select the correct time and date at the top of the card.

GETTING IN TOUCH:

Can I leave Weather Watchers?

We'll be sad to see you go, but if you do want to leave and have your account removed, email your details to weatherwatchers@bbc.co.uk.

How can I get in touch with the Weather Watchers team?

You can reach us at weatherwatchers@bbc.co.uk. If your question isn't addressed here, we'll aim to get back to you within three working days. Do not send photos directly to this address. You can upload them via the Weather Watchers site.