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NOAA Adopts New Net Policy 204

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has adopted a new policy which applies to provision of all National Weather Service environmental information, including forecasts, warnings, and observations. In June, /. reported that NOAA was taking comments on the proposed policy. Hundreds of Slashdotters responded. And it made a difference: NOAA will make its data and products available in internet-accessible, vendor-neutral form and will use other dissemination technologies, e.g. satellite broadcast, NOAA Weather Radio, and wireless, as appropriate. Congrats to the Slash community for making a difference and helping to set US Govt policy.
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NOAA Adopts New Net Policy

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  • Hundreds (Score:2, Interesting)

    by glass_window ( 207262 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @01:59AM (#10971803)
    'Hundreds' is right! I searched their "comment" pdf for slashdot and had to tell it to stop at around 500 and I'm sure it would have kept going for quite some time.
  • by Amsterdam Vallon ( 639622 ) * <> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:02AM (#10971816) Homepage
    I'm posting this for my brother who works out at the NOAA as an advanced research analyst.

    --- Begin ---

    Hi there Slashdot, yes, I'm a total weather freak and as such I was really glad to help serve you guys and field your comments, questions, and complaints.

    What really hit home for me was how passionate many of you are for our services and that they be delivered in an open, fair medium. As technology advances, some of us tend to go for the first choice, and Microsoft, Oracle, and other closed-source large companies were trying to influence our decisions.

    It was thanks to you the people of Slashdot that our eyes were opened and we have begun to embrace cheaper (which my manager likes) and more open (open-source) tools.

    Thank you and it's my pleasure to help serve you and continue research our weather systems here on Earth.

    David M. ******* (name withheld for privacy)

    --- End ---

    Enjoy guys hope that was interesting as a first-hand perspective.
  • by Forbman ( 794277 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:15AM (#10971882)
    At least will let you see the fleshed-out NWS scientist commentaries on the weather forecasts, along the lines of "two of the models predict X, but Model A predicts not X, and it seems to be more accurate this time of year, so I'm going with the Model A.", etc.

    The NWS/Accu-Trak/TWC reports are what the weather puppets on TV/Radio read anyways. Not too many actually bother trying to interpret things on their own anymore. Tom Skilling @ WGN comes to mind.

    If you remember in the old days, this was probably the most awesome weather information site available (also had, etc.). Well, the atmospheric sciences people I think got tired of hosting these public wx sites ($$$), and they went non-public in the DotCom days, but now it's in a commercial form of's stuff just sucks.

  • We can't stop now... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Infinityis ( 807294 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:20AM (#10971896) Homepage
    Let's see if we can milk all the way.... Seeing as how the FCC can way overstep it's bounds, maybe the NOAA can too. What are the odds that we can petition them to create a policy that voids the DMCA, declares SCO corrupt and bankrupt, and actively tracks down and imprisons scammers?

    We've found something that works, so now it's our civil responsibility to use it to the fullest.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:42AM (#10971986)
    Ironically, the bureaucracy apparently listens better than actual elected officials!
  • by tweedlebait ( 560901 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @03:00AM (#10972026)
    We should write them some nice 'thank you' letters!

    I missed this story and acting on it, but if someone with some political savvy could direct myself and others to the people who listened (and those who didn't) to ./'ers input and made decisions with our ideas in mind it would be great!

  • Re:free weatherbug? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mrgreenfur ( 685860 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @03:33AM (#10972143)
    There's already several. Here's one for firefox: []
  • Re:free weatherbug? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by goon america ( 536413 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @03:33AM (#10972146) Homepage Journal

    spawn telnet
    expect "Press Return to continue:"
    send "\n"
    send "bdr\n" # replace with your own 3-letter city code
    expect "Press Return to continue"
    send_user "\n"
  • by shufler ( 262955 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @03:42AM (#10972175) Homepage
    RTF is a proprietary format [].

    It's open, sure, but you can say the same about PDF.
  • As a weather nerd... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ErichTheWebGuy ( 745925 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @04:41AM (#10972337) Homepage
    ... I would like to say.. YES! This is not only a victory for us weather nerds but for the entire population of the U.S. After all, it's all about the warning time! Imagine, all the media outlets having to pay a licensing fee to Accuweather for issuing a tornado warning... OK, I know that's pushing it but the basic point remains the same. It's our information and it should stay that way!

    Also, as a trained weather spotter, I have been in contact with my local weather service office (KPUB) about this issue and they completely agree that the information be as accessible as possible.

    Chalk one up for us!
  • Re:free weatherbug? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dcigary ( 221160 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:06AM (#10972769) Homepage
    Dude! That's awesome! Just another reason why I love The Weather Underground! I looked high and low for a simple weather page with a radar image that I could display on my Treo 600, and I found it [].
  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @09:59AM (#10973517) Homepage
    an interesting comment when I was scanning the FairweartherComments3.pdf, page 332, it was from the Director of Sales-Media of Accuweather Inc

    Actually that comment is almost difficult to miss, considering that it appears no less than SIXTY FOUR TIMES! Accuweather engaged in a spam campaign.

    They apparently gave their employees a form letter to send in. The form letter appears to have been minorly revised from the initial comment to the final round of submissions, but the letter remains essentially intact. Virtually all sumbmitted the form letter intact, I think only one or two submitters bothered to add on a personal note. A number of them even comically wound up copy/pasting it with ">" at the beginning of each line, as email commonly does when quoting. Chuckle.

    It first appears in comment 227. It then appears as comments: 1120 1211 1213 1215 1217 1219 1220 1223 1224 1225 1226 1227 1229 1230 1231 1232 1235 1236 1237 1286 1307 1322 1334 1336 1339 1340 1341 1344 1346 1347 1348 1349 1352 1353 1355 1361 1367 1368 1369 1371 1372 1373 1390 1399 1401 1403 1409 1411 1411 1412 1414 1417 1420 1422 1428 1451 1454 1455 1458 1459 1464 1565 1469.

    Most of them are officially signes with an "AccuWeather employee" tag, but undoubtedly every single one derives for AccuWeather.

    As far as I can see their only arguments are
    (1) they want the old policy to remain
    (which isn't really a reason to retain the old policy)
    (2) The new policy will "disadvantage the American public" because "It can negatively impact job growth and corporate stability".

    I would say "job growth" is a bad thing and harmful to the economy when it is accomplished through supression of information and duplication of work.

    Nor is "corporate stability" itself a valid goal. Business live and die on actually satisying unmet the needs of the public. You do not artifically create or maintain an "unmet need" restricting existing publicly funded information. If Accuweather wants the government out of the "weather business", then fine, they should be denied any government funded, government created, or gorventment gathered information as well. Let AccuWeather launch their own satallites and operate countless ground stations themselves.

    The increased availablility of information information increases the opportunities for new businesses to crop up and utilize that information and to add value to that information. Corporate instability is a good thing, survival of the fittest constantly struggling to actually fulfill NEEDED work, rather than surpression to artificially create a need.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @12:03PM (#10974891)
    The commerical weather industry attempted to gain exclusive access to NOAA weather data. Specifically, they wanted to shut down the NOAA NextRad looping radar images that are updated every 7 to 10 minutes or so.

    The CAII members already had a glossy GUI + ads interface which offered NO MORE than what NOAA's looping NextRad site offered, but they wanted $30/year for access 'rights' and they only covered 75 cities, a limitation probably established because rural areas like mine in Eastern Nebraska don't have a population large enough to generate ad income, even if we would be forced to pay for access rights. Also, the commercial NextRad windows were only guaranteeing 15 minute updates, instead of NOAA's 7 to 10 minute average.

    Now, if we can break the hold other land grabbers have or are attempting to get on the Public Commons, like software patents on mythical Intellectual Property "rights" (i.e, like 200 year old math algorithms, common code snippets,etc.) we well go a long way toward restoring the freedoms which corrupt corporations have stolen. How can we do it? Work to get corrupt, money-grubbing politicians voted out of office. They are the ones who took the 'campaign donations', formerly known as bribes, to sponsor the changes in laws so favorable to the Gates of this country, but detrimental to you and I.

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl