Informatics lab

The Met Office Informatics Lab combines scientists, software engineers, and designers to create new things. We try to rapidly prototype non-business-as-usual ideas that allow people from within the Met Office (and beyond) to make our science and data useful.

The way we work

  • We produce prototypes and experiments quickly.
  • We mix disciplines and share knowledge.
  • We produce open and visible code to help enable areas of the business and other organisations to easily access and exploit our data.

Why do we create prototypes?

  • To quickly test and try new technologies - exploring ways to make our operational services more robust.
  • To help both internal Met Office systems and external collaborators to easily access our data.
  • By working outside of the main network we reduce the risk to the organisation and help to feedback learnings to improve our operational services.
  • We can try things quickly and cheaply at a low risk.

Informatics lab

What have we been working on?

From one day hacks, week long intense sprints and longer, larger projects, we've worked on lots of prototypes:

Whilst some prototypes may lead to new products for the Met Office, the learnings, decisions and skills developed can all be of huge operational benefit.

For example, there have been a number of strands from the first year which have led to benefits for the office:

  • our exploration of software in the cloud, Docker and containers has been used by our Platforms Team. By introducing Docker we may help to allow an increase in the efficiency of our servers from 25% to 90%.
  • our work in compressing big data in the browser, by encoding data as video, is helping to inform better products for our Aviation customers.
  • our development of gaming technologies (mobile controllers, virtual reality) is helping gaming communities to exploit and easily integrate our datasets.
  • syncing data and visualisations via wifi across platforms - potentially helping forecasters explain and share the weather story across various bandwidths.

For more information visit about our projects and latest work visit

Last updated: 14 June 2016

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