Open Weather Data with the Weather Chaser

Tonight at Open Knowledge Melbourne, John Barratt gave us an overview of all the open weather data available. John runs a few sites, including TrendsMap (commercial services identifying patterns in Twitter data), The Weather Chaser (a decade’s worth of official weather data, with interesting analysis and discovery interfaces), and Will I Get Wet, a localised rain predictor. John’s a serious amateur weather data archivist, starting more than a decade ago to work out where the snow would be best for snowboarding.

Weather data is a bit different from a lot of the other open data we talk about. For starters, most of the straight observational data is already “open”. You can download it straight from the Bureau’s website. But it’s basically just a gigantic FTP site with no documentation to help you find your way around. Jump in. Have a look. John calls this process “dumpster diving”.

An easier approach is to use other sites that harvest weather data from around the world, including Australia, and generate forecasts and other processed data from that. For example, the US’s “National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration” has lots of data that is also useful to Australians. is another starting point, or even the Naval Oceanography Antisubmarine Warfare Centre Fleet Activities Yokosuka!

John’s slides are now available.

Some of the interesting links from John’s sites:

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