Open Data

White House launches climate data website

NOAA storm imagery

In the latest outgrowth of President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan, the White launched Climate.Data.gov, a website that hosts maps and data for businesses and government to track the effect of climate change on the environment and the economy,.

In its pilot phase, the new site will focus on data pertaining to coastal regions, where storms like hurricane Sandy along with gradual sea level rise are changing the contours of the geography.

The initial offering includes a host of mapping tools that track the changing coastline of the New York-New Jersey coastline hit hardest by Sandy, along with interactive mapping tools from FEMA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The datasets range from historical weather and tidal data to information on population movement and change. The aggregation of climate info and tools is designed to help foster activity among entrepreneurs and developers to create applications.

"This effort will help give communities across America the information and tools they need to plan for current and future climate impacts," presidential counselor John Podesta and science advisor John Holdren wrote in a White House blog post.

Leading tech and mapping firms announced new initiatives keyed to the climate data site.

Google is donating 1 petabyte of cloud storage for climate data, which will enhance the performance of apps driven by climate data APIs. Mapping firm Esri will develop services keyed to helping cities plan for climate change, and sponsoring a challenge with a $10,000 first prize to develop apps that will help cities and towns respond to damaging weather and climate events. Microsoft Research will award cloud computing resources to 40 projects, and will launch a service called FetchClimate that hosts historical and current climate data to allow users to construct their own predictive planning models.

The government is also hosting climate app development challenges,  including a joint NOAA-NASA effort to help coastal communities plan for storm surge. Previously, NOAA announced a request for information to open up its enormous and diverse data streams to U.S. firms.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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Reader comments

Thu, Mar 20, 2014

Unfortunately, this is nothing more than a political propaganda tool. The "gradual sea level rise" is about 1 foot every 100 years, which has been a common occurance for the past 10,000 years and obviously nothing to be overly concerned about. NOAA has been around for decades to tell us about storms - another historical common occurance. The real subtle message that this website is about is to convince people to give the government more and more power to run everyone else's lifes - at taxpayer expense as well as their freedom. This government is broke and more money destroying programs used to advance a political adgenda like this is the last thing we need.

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