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Should Taxpayers Pay Twice For Weather Data? 359

Posted by timothy
from the decaptivation dept.
theodp writes "Thanks to O.M.B. Circular A-130, taxpayers now enjoy free access to SEC, Patent Office, and IRS data over the Internet. Now the Bush administration must decide whether to order the National Weather Service to make taxpayer-funded weather readings freely available on the Net, ignoring complaints from an industry trade group that doing so violates pre-Internet era agreements."
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Should Taxpayers Pay Twice For Weather Data?

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  • Ooh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:07PM (#11451468)
    This is gonna kick up a storm.
    • Actually (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gerf (532474) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Sunday January 23, 2005 @10:05PM (#11451863) Journal

      It's kicking up some cool innovation. If you use Firefox, you can use the WeatherFox extension that uses this service. Now, I have nifty icons in my status bar and other information telling me my weather forcast.

      This is very helpful for me, as I'm on a farm where weather changes are very important to know. I'm quite happy I no longer have to look at weather.com and its horrid layout.

      • Re:Actually (Score:3, Interesting)

        by yasth (203461)
        Actually Forecastfox (WeatherFox's current name) uses the The Weather Channel (i.e. weather.com) as its source.) It is however very cool http://forecastfox.mozdev.org/ [mozdev.org]

        As to the story, I don't see what the big deal with providing internet access is when there is already a national weather radio service broadcasting this. I mean most people use weatherbug even though it is scary ad bedecked, slow, and when better options exist. Yet they do. So most likely accuweather shouldn't worry.
    • With such a contentious issue like this, it's a good thing the title of the story isn't biased in any way. I really appreciate how Slashdot serves to be such a mediating influence.
  • by AvantLegion (595806) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:08PM (#11451478) Journal
    ... is people trying to figure out how they can bash Bush over this.

    • by Senjutsu (614542) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:17PM (#11451553)
      They'll skip options one and two and head straight to Option Three:

      Declare the weather a matter of national security, and order that it be classified as sensitive material immediately.
      • I'm not as concerned about that as the stuff that was NOT declared a matter of national security but was arbitrarily classified anyway.
      • Declare the weather a matter of national security, and order that it be classified as sensitive material immediately.

        They did that with a hurricane in 1943, actually. It blew through Houston and shut down the refineries producing aviation fuel. After the storm passed nearly all weather records related to it were destroyed.

  • by asifyoucare (302582) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:12PM (#11451507)
    Their mission statement reads
    The National Weather Service (NWS) provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community.

    This implies, but doesn't state clearly, that its information should be made easily available to all (and thus probably free).

    I doubt that existing agreements are exclusive.
    • by the gnat (153162) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:36PM (#11451671)
      This implies, but doesn't state clearly, that its information should be made easily available to all

      What I don't get is what exactly the NWS provides to the commercial weather services, and what exactly the companies do that they believe is being "duplicated" by the government.

      My understanding was that the NWS simply collects raw data and feeds it to the companies. The companies do not actually collect weather data independently. Prior to the new rules, the NWS data was only available to said companies, which packaged it up with fancy graphics or some such nonsense. Now, anyone can download the data and set up their own service. Is this all true?

      So, if the NWS is making fancy weather websites (and hence, directly competing with the companies), I agree that this might not be entirely fair (although I've seen this argument extended too far on occasion). On the other hand, if some random private individual wants to set up their own website to interpret the public data, what possible argument is there against this? I'm not clear on what exactly the industry association is objecting too - it sounds like a combination of both cases.

      I found a Wired article from last month that made it a little clearer:

      "Weather-industry companies were promoting the idea that the government restrict special interests that have the ability to pay for the data -- like Major League Baseball teams or citrus growers -- from acquiring it for free, [some weather company honcho] said."

      That sounds like bullshit to me. Why should private companies be discriminated against? They're taxpayers too, at least in theory. The government shouldn't force them to go through some hideously expensive service to get the same info that the public receives for free. (Actually, though, this practice is unfortunately very common in academic sciences, largely as a way for universities to supplement their grant income.)

      You could argue that the government shouldn't be in the business of collecting weather data at all - although I think there's a very strong case for the NWS even for libertarian types, since the primary role of government should be to protect our lives and property. So, assuming the NWS is a justified agency, there's no possible case for restricting access to the data to a few private companies.
      • Right. The "duplication of service" is duplication of distribution to the public. The companies in this business receive the data free from the NWS and resell it at a large markup to the public. If the NSW provides weather data to the public, it will be duplicating the companies' service. In short, duplication is not a real issue here. What is at issue is that certain companies have made a business of getting information free and selling it and they don't want their business undercut by everyone being able

      • by plover (150551) * on Sunday January 23, 2005 @10:44PM (#11452123) Homepage Journal
        My understanding was that the NWS simply collects raw data and feeds it to the companies. The companies do not actually collect weather data independently. Prior to the new rules, the NWS data was only available to said companies, which packaged it up with fancy graphics or some such nonsense. Now, anyone can download the data and set up their own service. Is this all true?

        That used to be correct. You, Private Citizen, have always been free to collect the raw data from the NOAA. The policy the commercial weather firms arranged with the NOAA fourteen years ago was a statement that the NOAA wouldn't compete with the commercial firms, in terms of providing "finished" content.

        I think the "competition" you were asking about occurred in 2003 when the NOAA started experimenting with making "point forecasts" available to the public: the weather firms cried foul. The NOAA decided to revisit their policy last year, and they requested public comment. The public outcry was loud and clear: if the NOAA was processing data at public expense, the NOAA was expected to make the processed data available to the public. And, surprisingly enough, it became their new policy despite complaints from the commercial firms. It's called the "Fair Weather Policy". [noaa.gov]

        So, the point forecasts are now available on-line. [weather.gov] How has that changed things? Not much. People still turn to the local TV station for weather in the morning, and they tune in to The Weather Channel if they're heading to the beach or the mountains.

        I think where the main effect has been felt is in the industrial sector. For example, concrete companies typically rely on a very precise two hour forecast to ensure their new sidewalks won't get rained on. They used to pay lots of money to private meterologists who "insured" their forecasts (for $499.00 we'll guarantee you'll see no rain in the next two hours or we pay you $10,000.) But with NOAA point forecasts available, as a concrete company I'd be likely to take my own chances regarding rain.

    • by windows (452268) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:49PM (#11451761)
      You're absolutely correct. But this is about more than disseminating data.

      Private industry wants to take over actually collecting the data. They can't tell the NWS what to do with data the NWS collects, but they want to take collection of data out of the NWS' control. That's what the article is saying.

      What's so wrong about this is research is rarely profitable in a short period of time. Industry is about impressing shareholders as much as it is about producing a product. I'm of the opinion that taking data collection out of the hands of the government will stifle research to improve our ability to collect this data.

      This is extremely important, especially in areas such as radar. The WSR-88D radars, many of which were deployed in the early 1990s, were developed through years of research. They have the important feature that their predecessors don't of being able to detect motion, not just reflectivity. This allows meteorologists to detect things such as rotation and better issue warnings (particularly tornado warnings)! It's important that this research continue.

      That's really why private industry's stance on this is dangerous and flawed.
      • I don't see this in the article. It just talks about dissemination. Am I missing something? Where do you get the idea that the private companies want to take over collection of the information?

        • "We feel that they spend a lot of their funding and attention on duplicating products and services that already exist in the private sector," Barry Lee Myers, executive vice president of AccuWeather, says of the weather service. "And they are not spending the kind of time and effort that is needed on catastrophic issues that involve lives and property, which I think is really their true function."

          Maybe I'm misunderstanding that, but that's how I took it.

          BTW, private industry has invested in this sort of t
          • I think they just mean dissemination, not collection. Look at the preceding paragraph:

            But the Commercial Weather Services Association, the industry's trade group, has complained that such sites violate an agreement from the pre-Internet era. By its argument, the taxpayers should continue to pay for all the weather balloons and monitoring stations--but should not be allowed to get the results directly from government sites.

            That says that the government should continue to do the collection but not dissem

            • You may be correct. But I've found this quote from the CWSA's site where they actually discuss the 1991 agreement:

              "The NWS will not compete with the private sector when a service is currently provided or can be provided by commercial enterprises, unless otherwise directed by applicable law."

              TV stations are a form of private weather. What's the difference between a doppler radar operated by TV stations and by the NWS?

              Also, the article talks about the NWS being distracted by certain responsibilities and th
    • Well, considering if they are charging for the data, thats a revinew source for the NWS, if they gave it away for free, they would have to get money to support them another way, which would basicly mean they would have to request more money from the government, thus people would pay higher taxes.

      Considering most people get their weather from the news stations, or things like the weather channel, they arn't really paying for it as is, so weather or not it's free to them doesn't matter.

      It's not like the ma
    • My college class took a trip to our local NWS weather station.

      The guy working there said the data is currently available to people at essentially media cost. They just don't have it on the internet yet.

      This is where your local weatherman gets their report. The NWS runs models for up to 3 days in the future. Then AcuWeather and others take the result and digest it some more to get your extended forecasts. They do this because the NWS has the most reliable data gathering equipment (several thousand data poi
  • by stimpleton (732392) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:13PM (#11451522)
    As the weather changes for the worse recently, freely available weather data could possibly save lives.
    Highlighted by a recent incident where heavy rain fell, a river rose, and 700 people were evacuated at 1am in a camp ground. On the news a 10yo kid recounted how the water was ankle deep in his tent, when the family was woken for evac. Some hours later only the tent tops were visible.
    The commercial weather incumbent couldnt warn these people. A camper in the internet cafe might of.
    • The commercial weather incumbent couldnt warn these people. A camper in the internet cafe might of.

      Supposing for a second that the campground did have an internet cafe (i've never seen one that did, but I guess they could be out there), is there some reason weather.com, WeatherUnderground or one of the other free weather sites would not have satisfied?
    • http://www.weather.com/
      http://www.wunderground. c om/

      Both are freely available to everyone with a net connection. Both rely on NOAA and NWS supplied data along with other, private sources.

      The vast majority of the American public gets their weather from those or similar locations. Most wouldn't know it if the free feeds from the NOAA/NWS stopped. Lives would not be in danger as those that do use the feeds would either pay the fee or move over to feeds from the private sector.

      That being said, it should N
    • If you can't figure out that a campground that's ankle deep in water is a bad place to be, I call that Dawin in action.
  • by narfbot (515956) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:21PM (#11451573)
    This is just confusing -- the article briefly mentions the same thing:
    "Now the Bush administration must decide whether to order the National Weather Service to make taxpayer-funded weather readings freely available on the Net, ignoring complaints from an industry trade group that doing so violates pre-Internet era agreements."

    Eh? Isn't the information already free? Go to the NWS website. Everything is all there -- I visit it all the time. Seems like the decision has already been made, and the trade groups are arguing after the fact. Who cares if violates an agreement -- it's their right to change it? What does the Bush Administration have anything to do with this when the decision has already been made?
    • There was a widely blogged press release several weeks ago announcing the public availability of all of the weather data made available to commercial services. This is in the form of XML feeds containing the same packaged info sent to the commercial sites. Check out http://www.nws.noaa.gov/data/current_obs/ [noaa.gov] for details.
    • Because this article is kind of a rehash of old news.

      The NWS adopted the Fair Weather Policy on December 1st, 2004, in direct response to OMB Circular A-130. It's done. Public comments came and went last summer, and the policy was enacted last year already, despite Barry Meyer's whining. Of course he won't give up, because now he believes his "industry association" is in jeopardy because NWS computers can produce what his can. And he has a senator in his pocket, so his whining gets heard.

      But I don't

  • Public Property (Score:5, Informative)

    by digitalgimpus (468277) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:23PM (#11451592) Homepage
    From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    Works produced by employees of the United States federal government in the scope of their employment are public domain by statute. However, note that, despite popular misconception, the U.S. Federal Government can own copyrights that are assigned to it by others. As a general rule photographs on .mil and .gov sites are public domain. However there are some notable exceptions. Check the privacy and security notice of the website. It should also be noted that governments outside the U.S. often do claim copyright over works produced by their employees (for example, Crown Copyright in the United Kingdom). Also, most state governments in the United States do not place their work into the public domain and do in fact own the copyright to their work. Please be careful to check ownership information before copying.


    Data our taxes pay for, is public domain.

    I don't think the courts would allow it any other way (should it get that far). If it does... think about what this could lead to:

    - private companies like lexis-nexus being the only access to things like the Library of congress?

    - private news networks the only way to read bills proposed on the state or federal level?

    - Law Student need to read cases? Be prepaired to pay CourtTV several hundred dollars a month for access.

    The Supreme Court is pretty conservative by any account, and tend to favor business over citizens rights (in the past 10 years)... but there's no way even they would let this one slip by.

    Even their statements: public domain.

    Data government creates is for the people.
    • Law Student need to read cases? Be prepaired to pay CourtTV several hundred dollars a month for access.

      Electrical engineering student need to read journal articles? Be prepared to pay the IEEE several thousand dollars a year for access. (I just looked, the IEEE charges $50,000 a year for online and print subscriptions to all their journals.)

      This information isn't free (in the sense that researching, printing, and distributing cost money). University libraries seem happy to pay for this; I can get all
    • Data our taxes pay for, is public domain.

      Data isn't "public domain" - it's free, because you can't copyright data at all.

      What MAY be covered by copyright is a PRESENTATION of data - i.e. a photo, diagram, map, etc. I can freely distribute a list of temperatures at various coordinates if I can get a copy of it no matter who first obtained that data, but I can only distribute a color-coded map of that data with permission from that map's creator.
    • Data cannot be granted a copyright, ever. Copyrights can only be granted for the expression of an idea (data is an idea), such as a trivia book or non-fictional work of literature (historical novels for instance).
  • You mean... (Score:4, Informative)

    by chinakow (83588) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:23PM (#11451596)
    http://www.weather.gov/ [weather.gov] isn't good enough? they list all a crap-ton of weather stations, all you need to know is what city you want.
  • FUD? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by deltagreen (522610) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:31PM (#11451633) Homepage
    From the CNet-article:
    We feel that they spend a lot of their funding and attention on duplicating products and services that already exist in the private sector, Barry Lee Myers, executive vice president of AccuWeather, says of the weather service. And they are not spending the kind of time and effort that is needed on catastrophic issues that involve lives and property, which I think is really their true function.

    He added that the weather service might have done a better, faster job of warning about the southern Asian tsunami if it had not been distracted in this way.

    Is it just me, or does this sound like scare tactics? Would the National Weather Service hire fewer meteorologists or invest less in necessary equipment, instead spending the money on these public services? Or could public appreciation of the services actually mean better funding for the NWS, recouping the costs?

    If anyone knows, has there been real criticism concerning the tsunami and the weather service? And secondly, what's the cost of these public services compared to the total budget?

    I think this is just FUD, but if anyone has facts that say otherwise, I'll listen.

    • Here is another point... Why exactly would the US National Weather Service be looking carefully at asian weather? Now I know in a vague sense they look at weather around the world, but uh... Somehow I don't think a significant portion of US weather originates in southern asia. Hurricanes tend to form along northwestern africa so we look at that, certain weather patterns exist right along the great lakes and border canada specifically so we look at those... I'm sure there is some specific weather caused near
  • I see this as boiling down to a discussion as to the specific roll of government, and, as a possible precedent-setter for anything that deals with private/public conflicts.

    "We feel that they spend a lot of their funding and attention on duplicating products and services that already exist in the private sector," Barry Lee Myers, executive vice president of AccuWeather, says of the weather service. "And they are not spending the kind of time and effort that is needed on catastrophic issues that involve liv
  • I am able to retrieve all I want from the NWS for free already. I have no idea how Accuweather can sustain itself much longer. All the NWS needs to do is work with the cell providers and provide a free (airtime only) app for retrieving weather on cellphones and there ya go. WAP sites are nice, but Java and BREW apps are more capable the most WAP sites.
    • I have no idea how Accuweather can sustain itself much longer
      Accuweather is one of the companies pushing for the NWS to stop giving out weather information to the public for free. They'd much prefer that the public buy weather information from Accuweather -- imagine that! (And just so there's no confusion, the weather information mostly already comes from the NWS -- Accuweather just makes it pretty and provides access to it.)
    • The NWS offers WAP services at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/wml
  • by joeaggie (530447) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:33PM (#11451655)
    The article was debating weather (pun intended) archive data should be made free. The data is already easily available but you usually have to buy a CD which ranges anywhere from 10 bucks (or so) for NEXRAD images to 5000 for the CD mentioned in the article.

    This article had nothing to do with making current weather information free! It is allready free, the US has the best weather service in the world, is the top country in the world for weather research, and its all FREE!! Check out MeteoFrance's website, you have to pay for info. Before you have a knee-jerk reaction: RTFA.


    Personally, I don't think its a big issue, the only people who need a CD of archived data for the whole US would be researchers. As far as if you were curious about old weather data for your hometown you could probably go to your local weather field office and ask them for it (or check their website).

  • No, we shouldn't, but thanks for letting us know that we have another thing to bitch to our congresscritters about.
  • the u.s. constitution text was only available for viewing in a proprietary file format you needed to buy a license for to just read?
    • the u.s. constitution text was only available for viewing in a proprietary file format you needed to buy a license for to just read?
      I forget the specifics, but there was a city or state or something recently where all the _laws_ were copyrighted and unavailable without paying a large license fee. Can anybody provide the details? I think it was mentioned on /. at one point, but can't seem to find the right keywords to search for it ...
  • I say that if the weather industry doesn't like, maybe they should pick up the bill themselvs and pay it completely. Why should my tax money fully fund something I'll have to pay for anyway?
  • slashdot.org.us? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:42PM (#11451712)
    Is this slashdot.org or slashdot.org.us?

    Don't assume "taxpayer" is well defined, 'cos it aint. Only some of us live in the USA.
  • by windows (452268) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:43PM (#11451723)
    I'm a student studying meteorology. I've got a lot of data and software available to me when I'm at school that simply isn't available when I'm not there. It's frustrating to search for certain data and find that it's unavailable.

    The private weather industry reached an agreement with the NWS before the internet that defined the seperation between the two. There were certain things that private industry would not do that the government would. It set the responsibilities for both. However, with advances in technology and lower costs, private weather can perform many tasks that the government legitimately does. Thus, NOAA believes it's time to redefine the boundary between the two. Presumably this would allow for some overlap.

    Government has always been responsible for things such as soundings, radars, and issuing watches and warnings. There's many other things the NWS does as well. NOAA has attempted to make data available to the public whenever possible. For example, you can get a lot of radar data shortly after it's received from a NOAA ftp site. This is a good thing.

    The way I see it is private industry has spent lots of money investing in things the NWS already does. Instead of just accepting this, they want to make money by taking over things that are normally done by the government and reducing the government's role.

    Research is rarely profitable in the short term. It's an investment. Research in the meteorological community is ongoing. Constantly, work is being done to improve the data collected, our understanding of the weather, and the methods used to analyze the data. By taking things such as radar out of the hands of the government, we sacrifice the research that is currently being done. Remember, private industry isn't going to make the investment in research that the government is. After all, research doesn't make a profit quickly and doesn't impress investors.

    IMHO, private industry is overstepping their bounds here. They're infringing into things the government already does. And they're pretending to be the victims in this.

    If private industry gets their way, everyone who doesn't have a financial stake in this loses.
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:43PM (#11451725)
    ignoring complaints from an industry trade group that doing so violates pre-Internet era agreements

    I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.

  • No way (Score:5, Funny)

    by ch-chuck (9622) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @09:49PM (#11451759) Homepage
    If Wx data were publically available, we run the risk of weathermen like this [thewvsr.com] instead of the highly trained media professionals we have now.

  • Well let me see... citing the legal precedent of taxpayers paying twice for everything else... I think I can predict the outcome of this one. :(
  • But if they decide to individually tax us (in addition to our current taxes), that's going to hurt some people. If they really need the money so badly, put something like this on their webpage... "If you wish to see this service continue, please consider donating by clicking here. Our goal is _amount_ by _date_. Thank you."
  • Canada (Score:2, Informative)

    by tearmeapart (674637)
    Canada [canada.gc.ca] tends to be more open and ever so slightly less wasteful with our money.
    For example, Environment Canada [ec.gc.ca] has tons of information available, including:

    Please note that most of t

    • Can EnvCan do something about the storm pounding on my window, the two others we've had this week, and the one coming next week :-)

      Seriously, though, someone should mod the parent up because of its informative links.

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Sunday January 23, 2005 @10:40PM (#11452079)
    This decision has already been made, in the first week of December.

    Not only that, the already-made decision has been covered by slashdot, not once, but twice! (If a duplicate story is "dupe", perhaps an incorrect triplicate story should be referred to, appropriately, as "tripe".)

    And the answer is a resounding no, taxpayers will NOT have to "pay twice" for access to weather data.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week began providing weather data in an open-access XML format, alleviating concerns that commercial providers would continue to play a dominant role in how weather data gets to the public.

    "The public should not have to pay twice for access to basic government information that has been created at taxpayer expense," wrote Ari Schwartz, an associate director of the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology, in a July 28, 2004, essay.

    Earlier this year, NOAA made the data available in XML as a test, called the National Digital Forecast Database. After receiving comments from the public and commercial providers, the agency made the decision permanent this week. Now anyone can get information in an XML format directly from the National Digital Forecast Database website.


    Full story [wired.com]
    slashdot coverage #1 [slashdot.org]
    slashdot coverage #2 [slashdot.org]

    Of course, this information has always been publicly accessible: it's just a matter of ease. The National Weather Service now makes its weather feeds accessible to anyone in open formats [weather.gov], like XML and RSS. Of course the commercial weather reporting industry is against it: surprise, surprise.
  • News Flash ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elronxenu (117773) on Sunday January 23, 2005 @10:54PM (#11452211) Homepage
    2004 just called, and it wishes to point out that information is no longer scarce, nor costly to disseminate.
  • Is this like one of these advertisements that says you can get it for only two easy payments of 9.95?

    Seriously though, you're going to pay for it one way or another. What's the difference between paying once in taxes and again to use the information and just paying it all in taxes? People complain about the strangest things.
  • by Jerry (6400) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:17AM (#11454932)
    "We feel that they spend a lot of their funding and attention on duplicating products and services that already exist in the private sector," Barry Lee Myers, executive vice president of AccuWeather, says of the weather service. "And they are not spending the kind of time and effort that is needed on catastrophic issues that involve lives and property, which I think is really their true function."

    The internet weather companies, and their front organization, are continually propagating the lie that "these services already exist" in the private sector. The fact is that they are trying to steal the commons and then charge the community for access to it. They DO NOT launch their own weather satellites, NOR do they build and man their own NexRad radar sites. They get the weather data THE GOVERNMENT PROVIDES AT TAXPAYER'S EXPENSE and repackage it with talking heads and lots of ads, except that the product they deliver is often 15 or more minutes behind the actual weather, minutes that can mean the difference between life and death when a tornado is bearing down. NOAA NextRad sites are usually less than 7 minutes or less behind the actual weather. I can access the Omaha site and determine the approaching weather within 7 minutes of accuracy. The Weather channel makes available only 75 access points to cover the entire country. Lincoln is not one of them, so I am stuck with a North Central regional map. Not very handy if I wanted to determine last spring if the F4 tornado that hit Hallam 20 miles to the south west was going to roll over Lincoln or pass south of it. The desktop access app from the Weather Channel would cost me $60/year and is a box smaller in size than the NOAA nexrad animations, but it is surrounded by tons of ads which cycle constantly, eating bandwidth and slowing response time for the actual weather information update.

    The reason why the weather companies are taking this political tack (Part Duce) is because they lost a recent PUBLIC battle to persuade NOAA sites to shut down public access. NOAA requested public input on the question and recieved over 1,400 responsible replies. The response was in favor of continuing free public access to NOAA weather sites by a ratio of better than 99 to 1. Now they are working behind CLOSED DOORS lobbying congress and , no doubt, buying with 'campaign donations' what their poor logic couldn't win in the court of public opinion.

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