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Weather Service Becoming More Tech Friendly

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 9 years ago | from the i-hope-your-servers-are-weatherproofed dept.

United States 182

awgy writes "The National Weather Service recently began offering XML/RSS feeds of their alerts, observations, and forecasts. Now the Tulsa, OK Forecast Office is experimenting with offering forecast files for Google Earth. It looks like the National Weather Service is quickly becoming one of the most geek-friendly government agencies."

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First post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354275)

First post!

Re:First post! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354458)

When I think of the behavior of today's civil rights organizations, I often think of the March of Dimes. In 1938, President Roosevelt helped found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to fight polio, an epidemic that crippled thousands of Americans. The name March of Dimes was coined by Eddie Cantor in his fundraising effort asking every American to contribute a dime.

Since 1970, polio has been eradicated in the U.S., but the March of Dimes lives on, and they're asking for more than dimes. When they accomplish their mission, most organizations don't fold the tent; they simply change their agenda. The March of Dimes now raises money to fight against birth defects, premature birth and other infant health problems.

We'd probably deem them stupid if they continued their battle against polio in America. Why? Because polio has been eradicated.

What about civil rights organizations? Last week, Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the National Urban League, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference organized a march in Atlanta to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Bush administration and House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner have already said they intend to support full reauthorization of its provisions set to expire in 2007.

Speakers at the march used some of the most vile rhetoric in their criticism of black conservatives and the Bush administration. Harry Belafonte explained to reporter Marc Morano, of Cybercast News Service, in obvious reference to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, "[If] a black is a tyrant, he is first and foremost a tyrant, then he incidentally is black. Bush is a tyrant and if he gathers around him black tyrants, they all have to be treated as they are being treated," adding, "Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value."

Comedian Dick Gregory opined, "They [black conservatives] have a right to exist, but why would I want to walk around with a swastika on my shirt after the way Hitler done messed it [the swastika symbol] up?"

Moreover, Gregory explained, "So why would I want to call myself a conservative after the way them white racists thugs have used that word to hide behind? They call themselves new Republicans." Complementing Gregory's remarks, Jesse Jackson rhymed, "Race baiters and discriminators may go underground, but they never move out of town."

There were less intemperate speakers at the march, such as House of Representatives members Nancy Pelosi, Charles Rangel, John Conyers, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters. Their remarks consisted of attacks on the president and vice president, accusing them of stealing the 2000 and 2004 elections, wrongly invading Iraq and a poor civil rights record.

Like the March of Dimes' victory against polio in the U.S., civil rights organizations can claim victory as well. At one time, black Americans did not enjoy the same constitutional guarantees as other Americans. Now we do. Because the civil rights struggle is over and won doesn't mean that all problems have vanished within the black community. A 70 percent illegitimacy rate, 65 percent of black children raised in female-headed households, high crime rates and fraudulent education are devastating problems, but they're not civil rights problems. Furthermore, their solutions do not lie in civil rights strategies.

Civil rights organizations' expenditure of resources and continued focus on racial discrimination is just as intelligent as it would be for the March of Dimes to continue to expend resources fighting polio in the U.S. Like the March of Dimes, civil rights organizations should revise their agenda and take on the big, non-civil rights problems that make socioeconomic progress impossible for a large segment of the black community.

I wonder if their info is superior to AccuWeather. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354277)

I love the FireFox weather-thing, but I've heard that AccuWeather isn't all that Accu. Besides, don't they just get their data from the gov't and process it?

Re:I wonder if their info is superior to AccuWeath (4, Informative)

finkployd (12902) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354350)

Besides, don't they just get their data from the gov't and process it?

Basically yes, which is why they have been lobbying so hard recently to get the national weather service to stop giving out all this user friendly data. It hurts their business model.

Finkployd

Re:I wonder if their info is superior to AccuWeath (3, Interesting)

platos_beard (213740) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354376)

Indeed. They appear to have successfully Bought my senator [msn.com]

Re:I wonder if their info is superior to AccuWeath (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354511)

Buying an individual senator is dirt cheap really...

For a small company though, buying enough senators to get the legislation you want is too expensive (which is why almost all legislation is dictated by large companies).

Re:I wonder if their info is superior to AccuWeath (2, Interesting)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354382)

I have a lot of respect for the NWS. They seem to really be interested in doing their job and making good use of taxpayer money, regardless of the pressure put on them by lobbyists, senators, and corporations.

It is probably the only US government agency that I would ever consider working for.

Re:I wonder if their info is superior to AccuWeath (4, Insightful)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354391)

It is the Army Surplus store business model. Buy things for pennies on the dollar from the US gov't, and then sell it back at a big profit to the people whose taxes paid for the items in the first place.
For those of us who have jobs and don't depend on the gov't for food stamps and welfare, services like the Weather Service and Postal Service are the face of government for many. Not only would packaging the Weather Service data be a better service to the taxpayers who fund it, it would also give one of the faces of gov't a more positive look.

Re:I wonder if their info is superior to AccuWeath (2, Interesting)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354506)

Actually I developed a love/hate relationship with the Firefox weather extension.

You see, it took priorty and stopped me from navigating web pages, etc. So I uninstalled it.

Impressive (3, Insightful)

confusion (14388) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354280)

I look forward to the creative uses that are sure to come from this...

Now, if they could just offer real time radar feeds, I'd be happy.

Jerry

Re:Impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354303)

Now, if they could just offer real time radar feeds, I'd be happy.

As would any other tinfoil hatter...! :-s

They do offer real-time weather feeds... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354468)

you just need to get an internet connection to them and get this multicast-data-collection software and pay them some money.

Otherwise you're stuck with the every-5-minute feeds.

Want to find out more? Google for WSR-88D

-- ac at work

Re:Impressive (4, Insightful)

whovian (107062) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354472)

Now, if they could just offer real time radar feeds, I'd be happy.

Well, depending on where you look for the radar images, getting FREE updates every 5 minutes is pretty damn good. It works well for this armchair weather enthusiast. One alternative might be to pay $7/month for "real time" radar imagery with various enhancements.

I suppose the updates are only at every five minutes because in times of heavy weather, the forecasters need different types of data. The radar sweeps are done using 2 to 4 angles of elevation depending if they want to measure precipitation or storm relative velocities, for example.

Re:Impressive (4, Informative)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354623)

The best you could possibly get, unless you plugged directly into the radar site is every 6 minutes. The radar sites only transmit new product images every 6 minutes when they're in rain mode, and only every 10 minutes when they're in clear-sky mode.

If you want as-up-to-date as possible, you need to get the NOAAPORT feed directly from satellite. If you've got access to an old 10-12 foot TVRO satellite dish, you can get either a DVB data receiver or a DVB card and the appropriate software from noaaport.net.

Re:Impressive (1)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354779)

Are there any sites around for amateur weather forecasters that describe this sort of stuff?

On a much more basic level, I always have a hard time finding my way around the nws site (although it has gotten a lot better). Where can I find good information about the different statistical models, how the differ, what resolution grid they work on etc?

Mainly I am interested in obtaining the highest resolution GRIB file for wind forecasts in a specific are. Thoughts?

Re:Impressive (3, Informative)

zefram cochrane (761180) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354712)

The WSR-88D is actually able to discern 15 different elevation angles in it's scanning strategies. However, these change depending on whether or not the radar is in Clear Air or Precipitation mode, where Clear Air mode is more sensitive that Precipitation mode. This site contains a bunch of information about the WSR-88D radar. WSR-88D Radar Information (weather.cod.edu) [cod.edu] Unlike the radar displays from tv stations that you see, the NWS radars do not allow even the meteorologists to see a "live update" instead the returns are every 5-10 min depending on the operating mode of the radar at the time. As well, the various products are all calculated from the base data (reflectivity, velocity, spectral width, etc.) on each scan.

Re:Impressive (1)

WolfJ514 (316793) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354556)

They do. It's called RIDGE and they offer the radar in GIF format with an ASCII World File to make it work in GIS software. ESRI offers it's freeware ArcExplorer which you could probably user for this. I haven't tried it yet though.

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge/ [noaa.gov]

more feed to manage.. oh well (1, Interesting)

jgionet (828557) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354285)

it's great that all these sites are offerering feeds this way. I find it's the best way to get "good" information quicker.

Guam, Puerto Rico (-1, Troll)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354288)

Rhoda Island

Silly rabbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354547)

You're not supposed to read the article before posting! Are you new here?

Google owns Earth (-1, Offtopic)

genckas (660936) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354294)

Google is being smart, developing for something like, let's say our planet, is very useful :) Let's just hope that someday they don't become the "bad" guys.

The same weather service (5, Insightful)

bherman (531936) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354297)

Don't forget everyone, this is the same weather service our friends at Accuweather and like minded companys are trying to get to stop their innovation.

I pay for them to gather the weather, why should I have to pay accuweather to give it to me in a more readable format.
I'll let the guys/girls that gathered it in the first place make it purdy!

Re:The same weather service (3, Informative)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354370)

I pay for them to gather the weather, why should I have to pay accuweather to give it to me in a more readable format.

None of should have to pay accuweather for data that we've already paid for. This bill [loc.gov] in the US Senate is still pending. Given that the NWS is still going forward with making this data available, I don't think that the folks at the NWS support the bill.

Re:The same weather service (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354405)

Of course the NWS doesn't support the bill. Santorum is the only one who supports it, and that's because he's been bought off by Accuweather (whose corporate offices are in his state).

Re:The same weather service (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354938)

The bill will probably die in committee. As far as I can tell, it hasn't had any kind of hearing yet. You can browse through some related hearings here [senate.gov] on other topics.

Almost every hearing regarding the NWS all the testimony about them is nothing but praise.

I also highly doubt that any person from a state with a Gulf or Atlantic border (with the exception of New England) is probably going to be strongly opposed to this change. A large number of small coastal communities rely on the NWS, as well as local news sources which also rely on the NWS for their information.

The bill will be lucky to ever be brought up again.

Basically private weather trying to shut off gov (4, Informative)

acomj (20611) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354406)

The parent alludes to it, but basically private weather companies (many in PA) are trying to shut off government competetion. Because weather.gov [weather.gov] is so good and ad free, people prefer to use it. The privates have reacted by making there sites cleaner, but its still not as good. To stop government form releasing weather data the companies are pushing a bill in the senate sponsored by rep santorum (google news search for accuweather and santorum [google.com]
one story:
this is one of many stories about this. [greeleytrib.com]

Basically because our tax dollars pay for the weather service we should be able to get this information. Interesting to note the in the UK the BBC is running into similar problems (its government sponsored as well)

Re:Basically private weather trying to shut off go (1)

Roofus (15591) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354460)

Ah yes, yet another reason to hate Santorum. God I hope he loses to Casey in 2006.

I find him to be a misogynist, a homophobe, and a hatemonger.

Re:Basically private weather trying to shut off go (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354700)

I find him to be a misogynist, a homophobe, and a hatemonger.

Hence why so many of the religious nuts are able to sympathize with him.

Re:Basically private weather trying to shut off go (2, Informative)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354558)

Agreed. This is covered by FOIA and any law that would restrict this would contradict FOIA rules. I may be wrong, but I think even Top Secret military information is eventually released to the public when it's no longer a risk to our security or our troops which could be 10 years....20 years...40 years or forever...like atomic bomb designs that are 40-50 years old are likely still Top Secret.

Weather information is too important to have to pay for it. Accuweather before the internet was the only way TV stations who did not hire meteorologists could do the weather. In fact, I remember a time ago where the local station just paid for the Accuweather folks to record the forecast. Now they may still pay for the weather but it's usually read by a jock or a paid meteorologist. I wonder what the meteorologists who work for Accuweather think about their own companies stance?? In any case, I am ALL FOR RSS feeds for weaher warnings. It's a excellent way to dissemenate the information. I just hope they have a big enough pipe and let us hit it every 5 minutes or less. Of course that little file isn't much, but when half the web is hitting the feed, bandwidth could get a little out of hand.

Re:Basically private weather trying to shut off go (4, Funny)

moviepig.com (745183) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354587)

To stop government form releasing weather data the companies are pushing a bill in the senate sponsored by rep Santorum...

...because the data could be misused by those who don't understand it. Likewise, a ban's proposed to stop US consumers from importing Canadian weather-data, which might be improperly manufactured or labeled...

Re:Basically private weather trying to shut off go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354602)

And if the bill passes it will be 100% the fault of government. Remember who holds the keys.

Re:Basically private weather trying to shut off go (4, Informative)

bad-badtz-maru (119524) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354614)

It's even more than just private individuals now using the NWS data. My employer was paying tens of thousands of dollars a year for Accuweather forecast data that they FTPd to us daily. When the NWS started offering downloads of their GRIB US forecast files, we cancelled the Accuweather service and started using the GRIBs.

The funny thing is that it wasn't really a financially driven decision for us. We wanted the forecast information for every zipcode whereas Accuweather forced us to request the addition of new forecast zipcodes one by one from their sales rep. The sales rep would then insist on finding out what new customer of ours was using the data, and the sales rep would then contact +our+ customer to try to sell them additional weather services. We are not in the weather service business and it was very, very annoying.

Same here in Canada (4, Informative)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354730)

Because weather.gov is so good and ad free, people prefer to use it.

Same here in Canada. The govermental weather site is the most visited website of Canada (about 18 millions hits per day IIRC). http://weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/ [ec.gc.ca]

For-profit organizations try to offer value-added products, but it's crippled with ads. And what many clients do not know, they (example http://meteomedia.com/ [meteomedia.com] ) basicly simply repackage and reinterpret the data the government sells them (I work for the Canadian Meteorological Centre :-).

Here's a Thought (1)

MikeyTheK (873329) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354798)

Have you read the bill by Santorum? Please don't answer "yes", because the answer is "no", or the answer should be "I can't read". The bill is simply an extension of existing policy, and is completely harmless...unless you are Chicken Little. Does anyone think that the government should actively compete with the private sector? Of course not. So what is wrong with taking existing policy (which is just that for NWS), and actually codifying it with the force of law?

Re:Basically private weather trying to shut off go (0, Flamebait)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354889)

Remember kids: Rick Santorum is a c*ck gobbler!

Re:The same weather service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354733)

this is the same weather service our friends at Accuweather and like minded companys are trying to get to stop their innovation.

(Note: I am affiliated with a weather services company and am in full support of striking down Santorum's [spreadingsantorum.com] bill. Posting anonymously because AccuWx has mastered the art of barratry [wikipedia.org] .)

No. AccuWeather is not trying to stop government innovation. They are trying to stop competitor innovation. In the grand scheme of things, they could care less what data the government releases for two reasons:

(1) SLA. Being an AccuWeather client allows you to have a Service Level Agreement listing out the guarantees on the availability of your product. The NWS will not provide that.

(2) Custom products. For every company that uses weather data, there is a different specification on what format/product they want. While the product can be generated from the NWS feed, it is often more cost effective to let someone build your product - they have to worry about the feed format and they have to worry about getting it to you.

Ten years ago, there was a substantial cost barrier to providing weather data. The cost of data acquisition limited the number of companies that could provide post-processed products. With the advent of Internet data distribution, the cost of data acquisition is virtually zero. This means that anyone with a basic idea for a weather product can grab the data, process it, and make it available for sale.

What AccuWeather wants to do create an artificial data acquisition barrier. Many of their products are still priced at the "early '90s data feed" rate. Other companies are coming in and providing the same (or better) service for much less money, directly affecting their bottom line.

Now, of course they can't buy off a Senator to say "we want to stop the NWS data feed because our competitors are using it to provide our products at lower costs". So, the puppetmaster directs him to say that it is government competition which is hurting them. In either case, the desired action is the same -- stop the free flow of tax-payer sponsored weather data. That is their ultimate goal.

Get your forecast on your cell phone (5, Informative)

HMA2000 (728266) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354299)

It even gives you a radar image. Works well in bars and cars especially.

http://mobile.srh.weather.gov/ [weather.gov]

Re:Get your forecast on your cell phone (1)

486Hawk (70185) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354747)

Thanks! I was wondering why http://www.srh.noaa.gov/radar/ [noaa.gov] stopped working on my phone!

How is this geek-friendly? (5, Funny)

KitesWorld (901626) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354300)

I was under the impression that most of us never go outside. Why the hell would we need to know what the weather's like? ;-) [penny-arcade.com]

But the power and network cables are outside! (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354388)

You need to be able to plan for outages. For me that involves lots of beer.

Re:How is this geek-friendly? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354488)

I was under the impression that most of us never go outside. Why the hell would we need to know what the weather's like? What is this 'weather' of which you speak?

Re:How is this geek-friendly? (1)

evanandr (749480) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354560)

Your star burns! Welcome to Matrimony Theatre [penny-arcade.com] I'm sure a lot of us need a UV forecast.

Re:How is this geek-friendly? (3, Funny)

Ranger (1783) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354674)

I was under the impression that most of us never go outside. Why the hell would we need to know what the weather's like? ;-)

That pizza delivery boy needs drivable roads to get to your place.

Mother Nature Needs a Blog (5, Funny)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354305)

Maybe what the National Weather Service neds to do to make themselves more techn friendly is give Mother Nature Herself a blog:

Mood: Sunny.

Can't wait until the fall harvest season arrives; all this grain makes me feel hot and a trim will be great!

I hate those new sat photos they released yesterday. They make me look fat.

I wonder what Mars is doing. We were, like, so totally close during perihelion, but then he drifted away. Men.

Poster reveals his youth? (5, Informative)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354317)

They always have been - they just hadn't upgraded in awhile. Back in the 80s, you could pull forecasts and weather alerts off their ftp server and as gopher and the web were invented, they gave access to those new technologies. I think they even had a finger service.

This was long before XML, so they invented their own format called METAR, no more difficult than, say, email. It was standard, and they have made it public for decades.

"Becoming one of the most geek-friendly government agencies"? They always have been!

--
Evan

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (1)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354356)

Any government agency which uses some of the largest computers in the world to crunch through chaotic systems is a good government agency.
Also: Weather-Girls!

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (0, Offtopic)

sjaskow (143707) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354399)

Weather Girls? Man, I must be showing my age but to me Weather Girls are these ladies [amazon.com]

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354802)

I think I'm showing my age when my mind leaps to "there was a female version of the Weathermen [wikipedia.org] ?"

--
Evan

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (5, Informative)

kabz (770151) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354410)

Aaaarrrrggghhhh!! METAR, the bane of student pilots everywhere, but it *is* ok once you get used to it.
KIAH 190953Z 00000KT 10SM CLR 24/23 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP148 T02440233 $

It's not really surprising that the weather service is kinda geeky. Most of it probably rubbed off from pilots who are probably in the top 3 geeky professions.

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (1)

zefram cochrane (761180) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354778)

Station: Houston International Date/Time: 19th at 0953 UTC Winds: Calm Visibility: 10 statute miles (limit of sensor) Cloud Cover: Clear (up to 12 km -- limit of sensor) Temp / Dewpoint: 24 C / 23 C Station Pressure (Altimeter): 29.97 inHg Remarks: Automated station Sea Level Pressure: 1014.8 mb Temp / Dewpoint: 24.4 C / 23.3 C

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (4, Insightful)

typical (886006) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354423)

Yeah, seriously. I had the same thought. "Becoming?"

They had (have?) a telnet server that dumps out data as well.

I looked into writing a METAR-parsing library at one point.

The US government is pretty good about providing electronic information. Heck, GNU's timezone data was (is?) maintained by some guy at NIST or something. The NWS is one of the better government agencies, too.

Accuweather can go to hell. There is a *huge* functional difference to having information free versus inexpensive. Free means that I can just write an open-source client and include it with GNOME to display the current weather on the desktop. Inexpensive means that I pretty much can't.

If Accuweather can't manage to find a single bloody thing that they can do beyond what the NWS is doing (like, oh, throwing effort into forecasting research and selling forecast data), they definitely should not be in the business.

So Santorum is the guy opposing free weather data, huh? And he's the guy who hates gays?

Damn, I really wish that I still lived in Pennsylvania. There's one vote that sure would have been useful.

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (2, Funny)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354450)

Yes, he lives up to his namesake [spreadingsantorum.com] .

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354782)

Heh. I have just moved to Pennsylvania (from California) so consider the vote cast.

I am very much against voting on one issue; I knew he hated gays (I marched in Sacramento for gay marriage) and was still willing to approach his record with an open mind. But the more I read about the guy's voting record and positions, the more I'm certain that just about anybody will be better than him to represent my views.

--
Evan

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354464)

You are correct that they made it available and that it was in METAR format. But METAR is not very accessible to developers... just three or four years ago I spent a good deal of time trying to find information on how to break down the METAR codes into something meaningful. I discovered that most web developers were using 3rd-party scripts to scrape the data from Weather.com. Every time weather.com changed their page, the script would need to be updated.

I found very few resources on METAR format. It seemed like it was supposed to be a secret. Once I had it figured out, there was no problem. But it took so long to figure out.

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354711)

Years and years ago, there was a textfile in the root of the ftp site that gave the specific, broken down and unambiguous definition of the format. Heck, checking right now, it's the first result of a Google for METAR.

--
Evan

Re:Poster reveals his youth? (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354810)

I remember parsing METAR files for work for one summer. Those things made so little sense to me. Didn't help that I was a comp. sci. doing telecom stuff and wasn't a meteorologist or even could begin to understand some of their terminology.

where is the feed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354318)

I read the thing, but i can't find the URL for the feed. /I know I am not the brightest, but please help?

Re:where is the feed? (2, Informative)

mogrify (828588) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354341)

It looks like there are RSS feeds for alerts and current conditions, but not for forecasts. Instead, the forecasts use an NWS-developed XML format. You'd need to write your own parser for this, or find somebody else's.

Re:where is the feed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354394)

Thank you, I thought I was going crazy! ;)

Not to mention... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354327)

They use Linux! I've visited our NWS here in Maine, and a large % of their desktop computers run Linux, not to mention how they use Linux clusters to process weather data, etc. Now that's geek-friendly!

I like the experiment of NASA and Google Earth (0, Offtopic)

TarryTops (888130) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354332)

but they need to also use it on Europe. It;s always late.

This is the sad thing though... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354342)

....and that is, not a lot of he US is "wired" appropriately to receive this kind of service. Though dial-up is good enough for rural America, I doubt anyone can simply dial in just to get information on the service through google maps!

Re:This is the sad thing though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354377)

Dial up is good enough for rural America? WTF? I am sick of everyone making fun of those of us who live in rural areas. YOu can go f*ck yourself.
None of us want to live in your dirty, crime ridden cities.

Updates in WML via WAP (1)

ewg (158266) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354347)

Current conditions and forecasts are also available via WAP in WML format. This is the killer app IMHO: complete weather information on your phone.

(Requires browser that can handle WML.)

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/wml/wap_zc.php?zc=ann%20ar bor%2C%20mi [noaa.gov]

Weather Service Becoming More Tech Friendly (1)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354349)

Weather Service Becoming More Tech Friendly

Something new from Sirius Cybernetics? Hi There!

NWS is nothing but geeks (4, Interesting)

Kevinv (21462) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354362)

My father worked for the NWS (retired now). The whole department is nothing but geeks. I had to go to his office after school every day. I learned BASIC on a mainframe ("here this'll keep you busy."). I got to use some touch-screen computer that was networked with a bunch of computers at a Michigan college (I don't think it used Arpanet but it may have). I played a graphical MUD type thing that looked like Wizardry eventually would but I could interact with other players. It pretty much rocked.

This could go dark.. (3, Informative)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354367)

Recently a Senator (Rick Santorum, R-PA )introduced a bill prohibiting federal meteorologists from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel [palmbeachpost.com] . Now we can get this information for free. When this kind of bill gets passed we need to pay to get weather information.

Contact your senators (2, Insightful)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354434)

I have already written my senators on this matter, and have urged all of my friends (in the US anyway) to do the same. I never heard anything back from the senators, and it's been three months already. With their voting records, they must be too busy kissing up to accuweather to actually read their mail.

The EFF [eff.org] is also asking for help on this one.

*sigh* I can't wait for election day!

Re:Contact your senators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354829)

*sigh* I can't wait for election day!

Why, do you enjoy be completely and utterly disappointed every two years?

Re:Contact your senators (1)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354936)

I guess I do. If I don't at least try to do something, then I would deserve what I get.

Re:This could go dark.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354769)

I support Santorum's idea. AccuWeather and other Competetive Weather Forecasters should be banned by law from using NWS data - otherwise they will never be truly independent of the NWS.

Don't forget about Santorum's bill (2, Insightful)

meridien (718383) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354371)

Let's not forget about Santorum's bill that would basically force the NWS to remove all of these advancements so that the paid weather services can make a profit. The taxpayers have already paid for the collection and processing of weather information and his bill would make the availability of the paid-for information in question. Don't just take my word for it, read this [palmbeachpost.com] . Or, just google on "santorum weather bill".

Re:Don't forget about Santorum's bill (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354795)

Why do I envision levar burton (is that how you spell it?) saying this post now? "But don't take my word for it.........." Reading Rainbow. Anyone remember that show? I always thought that levar was pretty cool. He was pretty good in Roots too. Truly an underused talent.

All Hail (0)

SCO STINKS (858283) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354375)

I for one welcome our new weather reporting overlords!

Google Earth and Weather (2, Informative)

CiXeL (56313) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354381)

I'm still waiting for hurricane overlays for google earth. That would really be neat.

Didn't I hear something just recently though about the national weather service trying to cut off access to the free information because they said there were enough free or advertizing subsidized services out here already? ahh yes heres some information on it http://www.livejournal.com/community/weathernerds/ 229555.html [livejournal.com]
The bill can be read here
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:s786 [loc.gov] :

Re:Google Earth and Weather (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354883)

That is Rick Santorum's bill. The NWS has no intention of cutting off service. The greedy chaps at Accuweather have decided that its just easier to buy a senator with campaign funds than to try and compete. No coincidence they both share the same state of residence. Honestly, I hope this bill goes nowhere. We need the NWS a lot more than we need to start paying accuweather for free information. Nevermind the violations of the FOI Act that such a bill would introduce.

For the record, this is the same senator (who the fuck in my state voted for this guy?) who said that gay marriage would lead to legalized beastiality and incest. Nothing like spreading the FUD to the elderly church going voters who are the only ones that seem to vote in this state. Thankfully one of my favorite sex columnists (are there any others) Dan Savage has coined the term Santorum to mean the frothy mix of fecal matter and sperm that exits ones bunghole after some good ole anal penetration. I can't think of a Senator offhand that would be more deserving of being lumped together with frothy, spunky fecal matter.

My Gods, Pennsylvania is a very backwards state. They won't sell beer or wine in the grocery. Nothing like a state sponsored monopoly on liquor to jack prices up sky high. You can't even buy alcohol outside of a bar after 9PM here. They finally just started to allow Sunday sales of beer and alcohol in select locations. Its 2005. Get with the fucking times.

One of these days I'll get the hell out.

This entire RSS things is getting old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354386)

This entire RSS-everything is getting old very quickly. I find it to be much more work to have RSS than just going to the sites that I want to visit. I wonder if slashdot can interview the RSS creators and ask them how they feel about this.

-----

Divini Rae Gallery [audiworld.com] (Not safe for work--no nudity)

I guess... (2, Funny)

GypC (7592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354389)

... you don't know any meteorologists, but...

It looks like the National Weather Service is quickly becoming one of the most geek-friendly government agencies.

That's because they are geeks.

NOAA is also on their desktop geek friendly (2, Interesting)

pa3gvr (548273) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354398)

A couple of weeks ago I attended a SkyWarn [skywarn.org] class and noticed that the NOAA trainer was using FireFox [mozilla.org] on their NOAA issued laptop.

Re:NOAA is also on their desktop geek friendly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354443)

wow thanks for sharing

Sweet! (0, Troll)

Bobman1235 (191138) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354420)

Now we can get false, useless information faster and easier!

I think my horoscope is usually more accurate (and specific) than my local weather forecast.

Closed Source Weather (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354451)

I had read earlier this year about companies trying to take down the NWS, See this [ljworld.com] Brought to you by Scumbag Santorum and his posse of dirtbags. Their plan was to lock out NOAA and NWS so business interests could take over the nitch.

For the folks in the United Kingdom (2, Informative)

schestowitz (843559) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354487)

http://www.mopoke.co.uk/weather/ [mopoke.co.uk]

Scraping of BBC Weather, but it works!

Re:For the folks in the United Kingdom (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354598)

It would be easier to scrape from metweb I'd have thought..

http://www.meto.gov.uk/services/metweb/prodinfo.ht ml [meto.gov.uk]

The met office do have FTP, Email and web data sources but they're not free (fairly cheap AFAIK).

Put the NWS weather on your site for free! (1)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354492)

Don't forget about HamWeather [hamweather.com] -- it's been around for years and is still one of the best weather-related suites for web developers, it's cheap, and it's available in a variety of languages.

Geek Friendly? It only works with micros~1... (1)

podz (887481) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354512)

Or has the term "geek" lost all of it's value and come to mean anyone who knows how to double-click GoogleEarth.exe and follow a graphical wizard? -- podz

let us hope (1)

pathos49 (838882) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354536)

that a$$hole santorum does not get his wish to shut down the data feeds from the national weather service. It is imperitive that in a democracy, that the electorate know the STUPID bills that senators try to get through in the name of sucking up to a rich donor, in this case it is a for hire weather service in pennsylvania

"Becoming more tech friendly"? (1)

apropos (12176) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354557)

Saying that the NWS isn't or wasn't geek friendly is like saying that the pope isn't religious. The NWS has always made advanced data available, and sometimes the software necessary to use it. I think it's more likely that the "geek" community is catching up to the NWS, not the other way 'round.

Tell Santorum what you think about S.786 (4, Interesting)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354559)

Here's what I told him. Here's where I told it to him. [senate.gov]

I'm opposed to your introduction of S.786, the "National Weather Service Duties Act of 2005." Why don't you just label it the "AccuWeather Protection Act of 2005" and get it over with?

The National Weather Service provides accurate, up to date gathering of data and presents forecasts of weather at taxpayers' expense. To prohibit them from disseminating this through public access, and constrain them to "data portals designed for volume access by commercial providers" (Section 2(c)(2)) does a grave disservice to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania and the country in general. What you have done is nothing less than ensure that commercial weather reporting agencies have a taxpayer-funded data source that taxpayers are prohibited from enjoying.

Rest assured I will be monitoring the progress of this bill through the Senate and the House.

Re:Tell Santorum what you think about S.786 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354709)

Why don't you just label it the "AccuWeather Protection Act of 2005" and get it over with?

Very well, I will change the label.

Yours sincerely,
R. Santorum.

In Soviet Russia. . . (1, Troll)

exi1ed0ne (647852) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354595)

The weather reports YOU! I just couldn't stop myself.

Useless ... (1)

hritcu (871613) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354668)

... they are not using RSS 3.0 [slashdot.org] .

NWS == geeks (2, Insightful)

Nate B. (2907) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354677)

One of the original homes for geeks is the National Weather Service. There's gagetry galore and tons of science. I'm glad the folks at the NWS are taking advantage of newer web technologies.

In fact, the NWS is one of the few government functions I feel is worthy of my tax dollars. This function is too much of a public good to be left in the hands of for profit companies.

Forcast Icons (1)

mrgreen4242 (759594) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354685)

You know they are geeks (in a good way!) because the forcast icons for 'Windy' are wind power generators. I think it's cool anyways.

Santormonious (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354694)

Rick "Man on Dog" [dailykos.net] Santorum (R-PA) [rasmussenreports.com] has introduced a bill in Congress to prohibit the National Weather Service from offering any free data [palmbeachpost.com] . The NWS already subsidizes the commercial weather services by publishing weather data below cost - the corporations just repackage and sell it, with pretty visualizations. Now Santorum [urbandictionary.com] wants to take all the public data that US citizens own, and privatize it so only big corporations will be able to be in the weather game. Which means not only individual forecasts will be prohibitive, but teams of distributed processing won't be able to model climate change with real data.

Weather is for geeks (2, Informative)

ctwxman (589366) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354724)

I'm a meteorologist (or a meaty urologist - I can never remember). It's tough to believe there is any scientific discipline better suited for computer manipulation than the weather. For years, even before the advent of today's high speed computing, data was collected in a very systematic way, making it easier to compile and compare. Because I know there are so many reading this with the ability to advance the art, let me point you to a few data sources. Each of the files at this site [noaa.gov] contains all the world's weather observations for a since hour. Here's how [noaa.gov] to translate that. Here's forecast info [psu.edu] from the GFS model, a time series for single points covering a full week's weather. Here's the same for the shorter range NAM [psu.edu] model. The Weather Service even developed this free "Swiss Army Knife" program to read them called BUFKIT [noaa.gov] . BUFKIT has saved my sorry butt on more than one occasion. Here are MOS [noaa.gov] forecasts (dynamic model forecasts 'massaged' to take into account local climatology). The NWS is just scratching the surface, but it's getting better all the time. I look at my relationship with NWS as a partnership, not a competition.

NASA Worldwind (1)

Nuskrad (740518) | more than 9 years ago | (#13354825)

Will the provide the data for use in Worldwind, or any other app? Presumably being the work of the US Government, it's free of copyright, so could it be imported into Worldwind anyway?

Yet another unconstitutional government project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13354874)

The NWS should be abolished. I'm sure bob_robertson will agree with me when I say that the private sector can do these things and better. I am sick of the G-D Damned government wasting money that they have taken from me at gunpoint. Going by the constitution, there should be no municipal anything. As a matter of fact, the government should only be about 1% of what it is today.

_____________________________________________
A Vote against a Libertarian candidate is
a vote to abolish the Constitution itself
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