How to evaluate your maritime weather forecast provider

A 5-step approach to choosing and evaluating a weather forecast provider

The value of weather forecasts is being unveiled as the number of application service providers race to enhance and augment their solutions. The power of weather data can exert significant bearings on cost reduction across multiple industry verticals such as : aviation, agriculture, renewables and maritime. Speaking of the maritime sector, smart application of weather forecasts is critical to adapting to IMO 2020 regulation. This entails more efficient routing, optimising fuel consumption, responding to changing ocean conditions and consequently, lowering the risk of expensive port delays due to massive storms.

How can you appraise the value and quality of weather forecasts?

Understanding and analysing weather data from the naked eye can be a monumental, complex task. This is due to the intricacies involved in building and generating weather forecasts. A single forecast can include tens of millions of data points and include an infinite range of variables to consider. This can lead to an accumulation of data that is not only impossible to comprehend but also simply meaningless.

Here are five factors to consider when choosing a weather data provider:

1. Global weather coverage

Before you can even begin to understand the potential varying weather patterns that may occur, it’s imperative to understand the weather today- anywhere on the planet. The principle of weather follows the ripple effect, i.e. if you drop a pebble into a body of water, the ripples created eventually reach and affect water far away from the original dropping point.

Observing the weather at certain locations limits the predictability of the weather in those regions, especially after the first few hours. That is why weather observations collected from all corners of the globe creates the starting point for a truly reliable, valuable weather forecast.

What does global weather coverage mean? This process involves gathering weather information that is homogeneous in terms of consistency and quality from a large number of locations all over the globe – including oceans – which results in a better understanding of the evolution of weather conditions and better weather predictions.

In general, most commercial weather forecast providers base their product on the same set of data sources, which limits the variance of their forecasts. Looking for a weather provider that has access to unique sources of global observations can give you a key differentiator.

Spire Global doesn’t collect data just at a single altitude, but from the ground up to 120 km. Weather events are observed as they are forming at very high altitudes, giving unique medium range forecast capabilities. Compared to traditional weather observation devices, Spire’s satellites collect weather data on the entire planet – including oceans and remote locations.

2. Reliability

Staying connected is critical to businesses. It is important to keep in mind that not all products come with SLAs (Service Level Agreements) for service availability, and only some are fully resilient (99.9% ‘uptime’). This means that from time to time there may be temporary ‘downtime’ in your service. Significant operational interruptions can put your business at risk, leading to significant losses and downtime that can last weeks in some cases.

Providers offer resilience options for various products. Make sure you discuss this with your provider especially if your business needs a constant connection.

3. Innovation and Quality

Most commercial weather forecast providers use similar data sources and therefore produce similar forecasts without much variance. Using a weather service provider that wholeheartedly believes that constant innovation lies at the heart of success- and has the ability to leverage unique technologies to apply this conviction- will be able to serve you better with reliable, accurate weather forecasts.

Furthermore, compared to a traditional organization, partnering with a cutting edge tech company that follows a strategic, growth-oriented business model will guarantee you access to state of the art technologies, continuous improvement and to the latest knowledge.

Saving costs and remaining competitive will always be top of mind to any provider with an agile approach to their roadmap, focused on evolving the product based on customer needs and industry challenges.

Spire’s unrivaled radio occultation technology powers Spire’s weather model. By frequently launching more satellites, Spire collects more radio occultations and continuously improves weather forecasts.

4. Ease of Use

The colossal amount of time, energy and effort you’ll allocate to integrating weather datasets into your solutions will have a direct impact on your net revenue. Looking for a collaborator who enables users to quickly get value by reducing your technical overhead is a crucial aspect of the selection process.

Search for weather service providers that provide complete API documentation for developers that includes tutorials and guides. A public GitHub repository of code samples and integration examples can be helpful and a general FAQ page is always a great resource.

Data needs to be useful and convenient in order to be valuable. Source providers that offer easy visualization with custom Web Map Service layers.

5. Expertise and Flexibility

As stated throughout this article, the very nature of weather data is complicated and can be overwhelming. You may already be paying high management costs for your data feeds. It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the many weather variables available and how they could enhance your solutions and analytics. Having the ability to pick and choose which variables you need will help you avoid a data swamp and lower your data management costs since only the essential data points will need to be processed. Furthermore, a provider who is able to offer multiple data sets for its customers on one API is a key differentiator. For example, AIS data can be combined with weather data to provide a complete data set for your maritime business needs.

The Ultimate Guide to Evaluating your Weather Provider

Download our handy Get Started E-Book and apply it to evaluate or compare weather forecast providers.


  • Get Started E-Book
  • Provider evaluation checklist
  • Provider comparison sheet covering key variables to measure when evaluating providers.

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Spire is setting a new benchmark in the weather industry : improving weather forecasts one satellite at a time. Spire Weather operates one of the largest private satellite constellations in the world which provides a unique global weather observation network including remote regions and oceans.

Spire’s unrivaled radio occultation technology powers Spire’s weather models and sets a new benchmark for weather forecasts.

By frequently launching more satellites, Spire collects more and more radio occultations and continuously improves weather forecasts.

Spire is currently collecting 3x more radio occultation data than any other commercial entity on the planet, and this number is increasing with our frequent satellite launches.

Spire Weather is a global weather provider that is always increasing the amount of weather observations they collect. Spire Weather is constantly improving weather models, APIs, data delivery options, and considering more observations to improve forecast quality.

Easy to Use

At Spire, we work with modern restful API technology with clear documentation. In addition to full API documentation for developers, Spire Weather maintains a public GitHub repository of code samples and integration examples, as well as a general FAQ page. Spire introduced custom WMS (Web Map Service) layers. These pre-styled and geo-referenced weather visualizations are perfect for swift integration with existing geospatial software.


As the value of weather data increases, we continue to solve key challenges for our customers. You can optimize weather data for your intended use and maximize the value and accuracy of your applications. Our expertise in the weather, maritime, and aviation industries makes us uniquely qualified to develop new data solutions to help our customers better manage their daily operations and reduce risks.


Spire weather forecasts are customizable, so you receive only the measurements you need. Spire works with customers to determine what data is relevant depending on your goals. We understand that sorting through data can be time-consuming, so we work with you to identify the data that impacts your operations to ensure the data you receive is the data you need.

24/7 Support

Spire Weather has 99.9% SLA’s and is online nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so your forecast data is secure and reliable. Spire Weather will assign you to a support team that can help you with using our data and answer any questions you may have about collection, accessibility, and usability of your data.

Spire Weather provides maritime-specific forecast bundles, including multiple Web Mapping Service (WMS) visualizations for each weather forecast. Sign-up for a free trial to our forecast API and our WMS service.

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