Frequently asked questions about DataPoint

Some answers to frequently asked questions to help you use DataPoint

Why does the Met Office offer the DataPoint web services?

The Government is working to increase access to government information, making data more freely available to the public. As part of this the Met Office is working towards making available the data it generates as part of its public task.

What is an API key?

An API key is a unique string that is assigned to you by the Met Office. You should include this key in each web service request.

Why do I have to register?

Registration gives you access to a developer (API) key that allows access to the data in realtime. The key is appended to the URL which allows the request to be authenticated.

Being registered enables the Met Office to provide you with information on any changes to the datafeeds that might affect your app or website,

The registration process, along with the use of API keys, also allows the Met Office to protect DataPoint from security risks such as denial of service attacks.

MetOffice DataPoint is currently Beta, what does that mean?

A Beta product or website allows users to view and provide comment on something still under development. For DataPoint this means that although changes to the overall service are possible, at this stage this is not likely to include changes to the datafeeds themselves. The service is supported as fully operational.

Can an API key be blocked?

The Met Office may block API keys of users that violate the Fair Use Policy or terms and conditions.

How can an API key be unblocked?

API keys can only be unblocked manually. To arrange for this to be done it is necessary to contact the Met Office Weather Desk.

Can I use the DataPoint web services from mobile devices?

Yes, the DataPoint web services can be consumed by most modern mobile devices, including Android devices, iPhones and BlackBerry phones.

Can I use the DataPoint web services on a commercial website?

Yes, we actively encourage the use of the DataPoint web services on commercial websites, subject to the conditions set out in the detailed terms and conditions.

What usage limits apply to the DataPoint web services?

For information on usage limits, please see the Fair Use Policy.

Why is my web service call returning 404 (Not Found)?

The most common reasons for this error are the following:

  • The URL has been mistyped. Please refer to the product detailed documentation to view a list of correct URL formats.
  • The specified location ID is not valid. Any location ID included in a forecast request URL should be taken from the complete list of locations, and any location ID included in an observation request URL should be taken from the list of locations with observations.
  • The specified time step is not available. You should make a call to the capabilities webservice to determine which time steps are currently available.

Where is my town in the site list?

The list of sites for which data is provided by DataPoint does not correspond exactly to towns in the UK. It includes some residential areas, as well as places of interest, beaches, sports and outdoor recreation centres among other kinds of site. The most relevant forecast for a town that is not included in the list can be found by specifying the latitude and longitude of the town in question in the URL.

How do you request a forecast or observation at a particular point in time for a particular location?

The recommended method of obtaining a forecast or observation for a single point in time at a given location is to retrieve the set of forecasts or observations at all points in time for your desired location and extract the value representing the point in time you need.

Can I change the Terms and Conditions?

The Terms and Conditions for the data available from the Met Office DataPoint are not negotiable. If you need to use the data under different Terms and Conditions you need to contact usterms and conditions are provided under support information.

What if I have a technical problem?

Any technical problems should be raised with our Met Office Weather Desk, this service is provided on reasonable endeavours.

With the release of the new version of DataPoint we are also launching the ability to purchase additional support, contact us for more information.

What is the difference between what I receive on FTP and that provided through data.gov.uk and Met Office DataPoint?

The Met Office datafeed available through FTP is a text file using comma separated variables.

We provide a CSV file to data.gov.uk they have produced an interface to enable the download of that data in specific ways into a CSV format.

Met Office DataPoint is available as XML or JSON and is aimed at application/website developers. You will need to register to retrieve your key. More information about this is available on the web site.

What Units are used for the datafeeds on DataPoint?

In the majority of cases the data uses the International System of Units (SI) one exception of this is wind, which is provided in mph as this is more widely understood by the general public. A conversion factor is applied as follows [ m/s_value / 0.44704 = mph_value] this value is then rounded to a whole number.

Some of the site names in the site list are the same, why is this?

The unique identifier for sites is the Site ID, there may be times when the site name is the same. This may be because the sites are close but not exactly the same.

Can we use the Met Office Brand in our App?

Please refer to the terms and conditions for using the data.

When I try to download the data I get an error message 'invalid key, please register at..'

First check that your API key is written correctly, if the problem persists then please contact us.

Can I get historical climate data from DataPoint?

Historical observations, sometimes referred to as Climate Data are available in CSV format from the Met Office website. Note that the archive of observations from data.gov.uk have not been quality controlled. For QC'd data not available on the climate pages please contact the Met Office Weather Desk.

Are elevations included in site specific data, it's provided on the web site?

Elevations are not available as part of the site specific data, the site location is described by site id and lat long only.

Last updated: 2 April 2014

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