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The DRCP demonstrator

“Working with the Impact Lab has provided additional expertise for the project. This enabled the visualisation element to be developed much faster and to a highly professional standard.”

Dr Dirk KlugmannManaging Directo, S&AO

The Project

Dirk Klugmann, Managing Director of Devon-based S&AO has invented a cloud measurement instrument, the Doppler Radar Cloud Profiler (DRCP), with the capacity of extracting and interpreting complex data via a frequency modulated continuous wave.

Based on the ground, pointing vertically into the sky, the instrument measures the profile through and the height of a cloud. The information gathered is of particular interest to those monitoring operating conditions such as air traffic controllers, the instrument provides valuable insight regarding weather conditions.

The specialist expertise and insight from the Impact Lab has enabled the rapid visualisation of Dirk’s invention.

The Approach

 The project has three major strands to consider:

1.    Input and processing
2.    Storing and retrieval
3.    Visualisation.

Each of these strands can be tailored to suit the needs of the client, dependent on their specific requirements from the instrument.

The team’s pilot study took place using an instrument located at Chilbolton Observatory, recording data. The focus was on networking, storage processing, and visualisation.  

The team used a compatible end point on Amazon Web Services (a cloud computing platform), this enables the upload of data from multiple instruments, which can be filtered and organised according to the needs of the client.

Cloud measurement instruments known as Celiometers do exist, but these primarily are used to measure the bottom of a cloud. This invention can penetrate the cloud, and is not disrupted by fog. Alongside this, storing the data on AWS will enable the user to request specific data from multiple instruments, providing a detailed and holistic insight.

BAR Associates have been involved with the project, providing business growth expertise. Speaking of the collaboration, Charlie Lane on behalf of BAR said: “The quality and hence utility of the prototype more than exceeded our expectations as it has transformed the value of the stand-alone DRCP instrument to a networked service solution that meets the need of a wider variety of customers.  The Impact Lab staff valued the collaboration with S&AO and BAR Associates resulting in a professional, successful and enjoyable project.  We are grateful for their management of the knowledge transfer process which has resulted in the development and discovery of meaningful IP for the business.”

The Results

The pilot study was a great success and the future goal is for large air transport industry providers to purchase a number of instruments. The data can be processed onto a dashboard used by air traffic control, pilots and airport managers, providing valuable insight on individual flight operations and airport management.

The Team


  • Dr Dirk Klugmann, Managing Director
  • Charles Lane, Vince McConville & Robin King (BAR Associates)

Impact Lab:

  • Theo McCaie, Met Office
  • Dr Niall Robinson
  • Jacob Tomlinson, Met Office
  • Dr Debbie O'Sullivan, Met Office