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datapoint feature

As part of the UK government drive to make public data more widely available and support the growth of the UK economy, the Met Office has developed DataPoint.

Met Office DataPoint is a way of accessing freely available Met Office data feeds in a format that is suitable for application developers. It is aimed at professionals, the scientific community and student or amateur developers, in fact anyone looking to re-use Met Office data within their own innovative applications.

Chair of the Data Strategy Board Stephan Shakespeare commented "Today's DataPoint release from Met Office is another positive step toward making high quality data easily accessible by UK businesses and individuals. It's great to see the Open Government Licence being utilised and I hope that releases like this one will lead to the development of new products and thereby to a more fertile data sector".

Since its initial launch on 29 November 2011, the Met Office have worked with application developers and existing data users to refine and redevelop the service resulting in a better user interface, detailed support documentation, improved access and greater detail about the data available.

There are currently over a thousand registered users of DataPoint, with this number growing daily. Among the innovative solutions using Met Office data feeds are the OxBump application and CamBump apps from boutique developer Feather and Square. These unique apps for iPhone combine the weather forecast with flag status for Oxford and Cambridge rowers to help plan training, assess the safety of the river and keep track of races.

Talking about the development of the app, founding partner Susan Graham said "DataPoint has been a huge help to development. It's easy to underestimate the amount of work it takes to get this kind of data into an app. While information can be taken from websites, that strategy is difficult both technically and legally, nothing stalls programming quite like trying to read through convoluted terms of use! DataPoint solves both of these problems by providing gold-standard Met Office observations and forecasts in easy-to-parse, industry-standard formats and laying out very reasonable terms of use up front. And, especially for apps like ours that focus on making rowing safer rather than on profit, the fair use policy is perfect".

Met Office DataPoint now includes access to;

  • Forecast and observation map layers such as radar and cloud cover for the UK
  • Forecast and observed site specific data such as temperature, wind speed and direction
  • Regularly updated text forecasts for mountain weather, national parks and UK regions

available in xml or JSON formats.

You can read more examples of how we're fuelling innovation with our data on the DataPoint showcase section of the Met Office website.

Met Office DataPoint will continue to display the Beta badge while we work with application developers and existing data users to further refine the service over the coming year.

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