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The Global Impact of Open Data by Stefaan Verhulst, Andrew Young

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Chapter 14. United States’ NOAA: Opening Up Global Weather Data in Collaboration with Businesses

Creating a New Industry Through Access to Weather Data

Summary: Opening up weather data through the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has significantly lowered the economic and human costs of weather-related damage through more accurate forecasts; the development of a multi-billion-dollar weather derivatives financial industry; and the growth of a million-dollar industry of tools and applications derived from NOAA’s real-time data. In many ways, the industry built around NOAA’s weather data is seen as the paradigmatic example of how the release of open data can yield major economic impacts. To further scale the impact of its data, NOAA has launched the Big Data Project (BDP), which provides an opportunity to combine NOAA’s tremendous volume of high-quality environmental data and advanced data products, private industry’s vast infrastructure and technical capacity, and the U.S. economy’s innovation and energy.

Dimension of Impact: Creating Opportunity—Economic Growth

Key Takeaways:

  • The impacts of a given open data set can span an incredible array of sectors and users—with NOAA’s real-time data able to both help an individual decide whether or not to bring an umbrella on her commute or enable a farmer to better prepare for this season’s crop yield, to name just two.

    • NOAA collects over 3.5 billion ...

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