Catching up on my backlog of blogging, I have to say lately I’ve been really impressed by my government. I’ll wait while you all recover from the shock of that last statement.
Last week I was impressed by the U.S. Census Bureau and the TIGER/Line database which make possible projects like geocoder.us, and the forthcoming “politcoder” (more on that soon). And sitting in my “to be blogged” queue for nearly a month now, the National Weather Service has ramped up their public XML offerings!
The NWS is now offering
- a XML vocabulary for weather (though we still need it to be in a namespace)
- a web service interface to their 5x5km grid of weather observersations (wow!)
- RSS feeds of current observations (but NDFD info needs to be integrated with a namespace). RSS and NDFD XML for Seattle.
This is stuff I’m happy to spend tax dollars on!
Slashdot had a story on this, The Future of Free Weather Data on the Internet, claiming that the president of Accuweather is lobbying the NWS to shut down this useful public service because it threatens Accuweather’s bottom line. (why anyone should expect to build a business on the back of data collected with public funds is beyond me) I can’t comment on that directly, but it corresponds with what I know about NWS’s concerns about releasing their RSS feeds last Fall. Also, almost beyond belief, there is a whole rash of intelligent, thoughtful Slashdot comments on that story, read’em for the novelty.
Like last time, the NWS is soliciting feedback until August 1st. So if you think it makes sense for the government to be collecting important scientific/health and safety related data, and making it available to us in creative, and accessible fashions, make sure to let them know, and let them know any creative, and useful civic projects you are using the data for.