Frequently asked questions about DataPoint
Some answers to frequently asked questions to help you use DataPoint
Why are you making changes to the DataPoint service?
DataPoint was launched in 2012 and needs to be updated to improve the user experience. Over time, our new service will offer users a greater number of products and functions
Why should I change to the new DataPoint service when I can still get the old version?
You will see improvements straight away! These include the DataPoint portal with features and functionality for application developers including:
- a new API management portal;
- user analytics to aid in the management of data quotas;
- tools to help build code;
- enhanced tutorial and technical support documentation.
All new API products will only be exposed via the new portal. The old Datapoint access will be retired after a period of dual running to enable our users to migrate across and all existing API keys will become redundant.
What will I need to do to take advantage of this change?
- Existing users will need to re-register for the new developer portal and obtain a new API key per application. First-time users will also need to register using the same registration process as existing users.
- API domain names will undergo a minor change and this will require users to make a small amend within their application code.
How long will I have to migrate?
Users of the current DataPoint service will have from early April until the end of summer 2017 to migrate their services across to the new URL’s before the Met Office retires the original service. You will hear more from us as we get nearer the time.
How will I access the new platform?
When the new DataPoint website goes live users will receive an email with a link to the new API portal. This will include a link to register for the new system. Please keep an eye out for a follow up email over the next few weeks,
How do I get started?
Once you have logged into the new system, use the following steps to get started and to create your new API keys:
- Use the documentation on the Portal to find out more about which APIs are available and how to use them.
- Create an application on the Portal specifying which APIs your application wishes to use. You will be given an API key to use when calling the APIs. If you have multiple sites using Met Office data then you will need to create an application for each. E.g. a website and an app.
- Use the discovery tools and try-it-now facilities on the Portal (e.g API Explorer) to see the APIs in use and obtain code snippets for use in your applications.
- Create your applications and call the API.
Help, I’ve forgotten my password?
Contact the Customer Centre on 0370 900 0100 who can send username reminders and reset your password. Alternatively, you can email the Weather Desk: email@example.com.
Will users still be able to use the DataPoint Google Group for help and advice?
Yes, we will still have the DataPoint Google group, so users can share their understanding and ask any questions they may have on using the new service.
Will there still be a fair usage policy?
Yes, to ensure we can deliver a reliable and timely service we will enforce a fair usage policy. Details on the limits will be published when the new DataPoint service is launched.
Will data still be made available under an open government licence?
Yes, DataPoint data will still be made available under an open government licence to facilitate its reuse
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.
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.
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.
Can an API key be blocked?
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 Contact us.
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 - DataPoint.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 QCd data not available on the climate pages please contact the Contact us.
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.
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.
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.
What if I have a technical problem?
Any technical problems should be raised with our Contact us, 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.
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 Map overlay observation imagery detailed documentation to determine which time steps are currently available.
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.
What usage limits apply to the DataPoint web services?
For information on usage limits, please see the Fair Use Policy.
Can we use the Met Office Brand in our App?
Please refer to the Terms and conditions - DataPoint for using the data.
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 us. Terms and conditions - DataPoint are provided under support information.