Open access to weather data

In 2016, the former Minister of Science and Innovation, the former Minister of Finance and the former Minister for State-owned Enterprises commissioned the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Treasury to review policy settings for open access to weather data.

The review was intended to determine if there is a level of government held weather data which should be opened up for public access (over and above data already available) to better stimulate innovation and promote economic growth. The report was to look specifically at data availability, cost, use and potential, and how this works in relation to New Zealand’s open government data principles.

“Weather data” is defined to mean observations of the state of the atmosphere from either in-situ or remote sensing systems (e.g. ground-based weather stations, weather balloons, weather surveillance radar, satellites etc.). Within the environmental services sector, observations make up the most basic data from which value-add services, such as weather forecasts or climatological products, are derived.

Read the Terms of Reference [PDF 110KB]

Weather Permitting: Review of open access to weather data in New Zealand

In 2017, external consultants PwC and Experian produced the report Weather Permitting: Review of open access to weather data in New Zealand (Weather Permitting).

The review identifies that some barriers exist to data availability in New Zealand and that licence restrictions may be limiting innovation and economic opportunities in value-added products and services using weather data.

The review also notes that the benefits and commercial viability of those innovations are unclear, and that there will be costs to making data more available.

The review also found that most commercial and public appetite is for forecasts rather than observational (raw) weather data.