Registering your Weather Station

Essential advice for those wanting to submit data to COL

There are several compulsory fields you have to complete when filling in the new station forms on the COL website. You must have these details available before you attempt to create a new station on the website, or join COL and add a station at the same time.


In the UK an Ordnance Survey map is the best way to determine altitude. If you have not gone one for your area you can use Microsoft's Bing Maps as long as you are using a device with a large enough screen - mobile smartphones will probably not cope. Android tablets and iPads are OK, but you may have to switch to the desktop site if presents with the mobile option.

If your Internet connection is through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) you will have to switch it off before continuing. You may also need to allow geo-location.

When you first open up the web page, an ordinary road map will be shown but if you go to the top right of the page and hover over the Road drop down list, you will see the Ordnance Survey option displayed. Select it then zoom in as far as you can over the area of your weather station. The contours show up perfectly and you should be able to determine the altitude of the site

At the strongest zoom you will see the online equivalent of the OS Explorer maps 1:25,000 series, with the contours at 10 metre intervals.

Alternatively, you can use Google Maps but you will need to switch from Satellite view to Terrain view. To do this you should click on the menu symbol in the top left in the maps search box - three horizontal lines. It is near the top of the list. When you zoom in contours appear, but they are not well labelled and in urban areas they can be difficult to see. They are at 20 metre intervals in the UK, with the 100m, 200m, etc. contours being in bold. In the USA contours are in feet and any heights will need to be converted to metres for COL registration.

Bing Maps Options

UK OS Grid Reference

You only need this if you are within the UK

You only need to do this if your station is in the UK. If it is, an Ordnance Survey map can be used to determine a two letter, plus six figure reference. The two letters represent the 100km square, the first three figures the eastings and the second three the northings.

An even simpler way of finding the grid reference for your site is to go to the OS website, click the Grid Ref cross in the top right. A small cross will appear in the centre of the screen. zoom in and drag the map so that your station is centred under this cross.

Once the site of your weather station is centred under the cross and you are properly zoomed in, at least to street level, the grid reference is shown at the top right of the screen.

In this case you should get a grid reference consisting of two letters and ten numbers, the extra numbers giving a more precise location.

Bing Maps Options

Latitude and Longitude

If you are in the UK and have just found the grid reference from the OS website, while the cross is over your location, the latitude and longitude are shown in the Browser's address bar. In the example below the latitude is highlighted in red and the longitude in blue:,-2.21898,13. Ignore the comma and numbers following the longitude value.

Alternatively you can use Google Maps. Centre the map on your site and zoom in, then double click on the location of your station. The latitude and longitude can be found in the browser's address bar, as indicated below: 53.1368487, -2.2072573,15.66z/data= etc, etc - a long string of letters and number follow - you can safely ignore these! Also, ignore the comma and numbers following the longitude value.

If you are using Google Maps, you will need to round the latitude and longitude down to five decimal places before you enter it into the new station submission form.

Whatever site you use, it is very important that you copy any minus sign along with the number representing latitude or longitude. For latitude any minus sign represents points south of the equator, and for longitude, any minus sign represents a position in the western hemisphere, i.e. west of the Greenwich meridian.

Other than any minus sign, your values for latitude and longitude must be purely numeric, with no spaces, letters or commas.


The UK is divided into a number of regions for government planning and administration purposes. To see these please look at this government map, which will open in a separate browser tab.

There have been some changes to the definition of regions in England recently, especially in the South and East, e.g. Surprisingly, Lincolnshire is included in the East Midlands rather than the East of England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all singular undivided regions. The COL database and maps use the official government regional definitions as they were in 2018.

If your station is outside the UK then you should select Abroad from the list.