Free weather data via XML
December 4, 2004 9:25 AM   Subscribe

The weather just got a lot more accessible. The National Weather Service's weather data is now freely available in XML format for SOAP clients; it had previously been only available through commercial providers or in a difficult-to-decipher format. Not knowing anything about web services, I'm not sure about the implications, but I imagine that anyone who knows their SOAP could build their own weather app really easily.
posted by mcwetboy (18 comments total)
OT: This is the first time I've seen the acronym tag used in an fpp. nice work, mcwetboy.
posted by puke & cry at 9:32 AM on December 4, 2004

Nice find. BTW, if you don't know SOAP don't let it scare you; it's just XML. With a couple of sample request and response XML documents you can hack up a call pretty quickly. Alas, they used rpc/encoded instead of document/literal, so the XML is a bit more mucky then it needs to be.

Looks like the server is running NuSOAP, in PHP.
posted by Nelson at 9:56 AM on December 4, 2004

I work for a weather software company that uses NWS information. And now I'm going to start looking for a different job. Shit.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:05 AM on December 4, 2004

I use's free XML service to generate my own weather page. I might consider switching to NWS now.
posted by riffola at 10:14 AM on December 4, 2004

I use the weatherfox extension, which pulls data from I thing the NWS data is better. Hopefully the extension will get rewritten to pull NWS data, or someone will write a whole new one. (hint)
posted by clubfoote at 10:44 AM on December 4, 2004

WeatherClicks has really nice RSS feeds. Last time I checked NWS does not (too verbose).

I see current condition feeds, but I can't find where the forecast feeds ran off to. I think it was the weather alerts I found last time and those are a bit too verbose still (and in ALL CAPS ALERT TEXT).

Anyways, it doesn't seem to be completely geared toward consumer use right now, but I bet small media that don't want to use Accuweather will love it. I still prefer RSS I don't have to generate myself.
posted by easyasy3k at 12:16 PM on December 4, 2004

So would this be able to answer an question a while back about whether there is ever a time when it's not snowing anywhere?
posted by Space Coyote at 12:43 PM on December 4, 2004

I [heart] Weatherfox (now Forecastfox). Far more elegant than all the other solutions I've tried (and no evil adware like WeatherBug, etc.).
posted by rushmc at 1:34 PM on December 4, 2004

I've got the weather widget from Konfabulator. It tells me the forecast and it looks pretty.
posted by cmaxmagee at 2:17 PM on December 4, 2004

Peter Rukavina has created some neat feeds from the Farmer's Almanac, including the moon phases.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre also has two RSS Hurricane Feeds.
posted by will at 3:35 PM on December 4, 2004

What? No shout outs for weather underground?
posted by nofundy at 3:53 PM on December 4, 2004

Bring the War Home!
posted by rhizome23 at 5:45 PM on December 4, 2004

Sorry. Wrong underground. Thank you. Drive through.
posted by rhizome23 at 5:47 PM on December 4, 2004

weather underground got their data from my old company, which had a dedicated line to the nws. I don't think that weather providers like them will go totally away, there is still a need for qos for pilots and others that really need a forecast. Oh, and we used satellite data terminals too, can't get the internet in a lot of places (oil rigs for example).
posted by klaruz at 6:56 PM on December 4, 2004

"NWS data feeds are available only in a closed proprietary format -- and therefore not readily usable by the public," Schwartz wrote, "and the commercial weather industry is fighting to keep it this way."

Fighting to keep porn in the dark? An outrage!
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:13 PM on December 4, 2004

"...can't get the internet in a lot of places (oil rigs for example)"

*looks out window at the Gulf of Mexico*
*opens door to make sure drill floor is still there*
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:20 PM on December 4, 2004

Just because the data's available for free, doesn't mean that everyone is going to run out and write their own app.

Tons of people have Weatherbug (ack! pfft!) installed; I registered my copy of WeatherPop Advance on my Mac. I assume a lot of these "weather software providers" will just add another source ("Direct from NWS") in addition to,,, etc.
posted by mrbill at 1:44 AM on December 5, 2004

I must me missing something, but I've been reading iwin for years - it's the text of what you get on a weather radio.
posted by rfs at 7:27 PM on December 5, 2004

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