How to evaluate your maritime weather forecast provider
A 5-step approach to choosing and evaluating a weather forecast provider
Application Service Providers are rapidly unlocking the value of weather forecasts to enhance and augment their solutions. Applying weather data to maritime, aviation, agriculture and many other industries can have a significant impact on cost-reduction. In fact, in Maritime, an intelligent-use of weather forecasts is key to adapting to IMO 2020 regulation; more efficient routing, adapting to ocean conditions, means more efficient fuel consumption and this also lowers the risk of costly delays in ports after large storms.
But how do we determine the value and quality of weather forecasts?
Weather data can be overwhelming when you consider that a single forecast can include tens of millions of data points. Weather Forecasts also have an unprecedented range of variables to consider as well. Both of these factors can lead to a data swamp that is unruly and rendered useless.
Here are five factors to consider when choosing a weather data provider:
1. GLOBAL WEATHER COVERAGE
Before we can predict how the weather will develop, we have to understand the weather today – anywhere on the planet. Weather works like dropping a pebble in water —the ripples eventually affect water far away from where the pebble was dropped. Observing the weather at certain locations limits the predictability of the weather in those regions, especially after the first few hours. That is why a truly global weather observation dataset is the starting point of a highly valuable weather forecast.
Global coverage means weather information is homogeneously collected 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.
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 operation interruption 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 the same data sources and therefore produce similar forecasts without much variance. Using an innovative service provider, who can leverage unique technologies ensures reliable weather data and an accurate, up-to-date weather forecast.
Furthermore, compared to a traditional organization, partnering with an innovative company with a strategic and growth mindset will guarantee you will have access to the latest technologies, continuous improvement, and most up to date information.
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.
4. EASE OF USE
Integrating weather into your applications can be extremely complex and time-consuming, and that time you spend applying it to your applications has a direct impact on your net revenue. Partnering with a provider who enables users to quickly get value by reducing technical overhead is a crucial aspect of the selection process.
Look for providers that provide full API documentation for developers, as well as 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
Weather information can be complex and overwhelming, and management-costs of any data feed can be quite high. 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 chose 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.
Download it here for free!
ABOUT SPIRE WEATHER
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.
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.
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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.