On October 25th, 2012, the Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET) announced that as of October 29th, 2012, the meteorological raw data offered in its FTP server would no longer be available. Finally, the closing occurred on October 30th, 2012 [1]. 

The service allowed access to multiple types of data, such as observation measurements, solar radiation, background air pollution, lightning, time series, etc.

Far from being the optimal mechanism for data publishing and reuse, at least it allowed public access without administrative obstacles to these data, and free use by citizens, companies and research organizations.

This decision is a step backwards in the application of Royal Decree 1495/2011 of October 24th, 2011, implementing Law 37/2007 of November 16th, 2007, on the Re-use of Public Sector Information, which promotes that government data is available electronically, in a structured and usable way, preferably in raw and machine-readable format. [2]

Access to weather data by applying public prices, which at first could be thought as a financial support to the activities of AEMET in these times of budget cuts, may have the opposite effect and slow the development of industry, services and innovation around re-use of meteorological data, a market that moves in U.S. $ 1.5 billion [3]. In the European Union, it is thought that it could move 1.39 billion € [4]. In general, the global market for re-use of public information in the EU is estimated at 40 billion € [5]. 

Potentially, the economic and social benefits of applying the principles of open data to meteorological data outweigh the economic benefit of the sale and restricted access to them.

For all of the above, I ask the Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET) to revoke its decision to eliminate the public, free, anonymous and bureaucracy less access to its meteorological data by its FTP service, and to promote open data policies and best practices for automatic, free, efficient and based on open licenses access to the public information it manages.

[1] https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7679620/SupresionAccesoServidorFtpDatos.pdf

[2] A summary of the RD can be found at http://www.iderail.es/category/legislacion/ (in spanish).

[3] http://www.informationdiet.com/blog/read/how-did-weather-data-get-opened

[4] http://www.primet.org/file/EU%20PSI%20Working%20Groups/PSI%20in%20European%20Meteorology%20-%20an%20unfulfilled%20potential%20distribution%20copy.pdf

[5] http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-11-1524_en.htm?locale=en