NOAA 2001-210
Contact: Ron Trumbla


Albuquerque, N.M. – In a move that opens access of weather radar data to anyone with an Internet connection, NOAA's National Weather Service this month switched to a new system that distributes radar weather data more broadly. The change, which became effective Jan. 1, ends the NEXRAD Information Dissemination Service Agreement, or NIDS, and begins the Radar Product Central Collection/Distribution Service.

The new central repository provides radar data over the Internet using three different technologies: multicast; file transfer protocol or FTP; and the World Wide Web. More than two dozen radar data products from every radar in the network can be received as a real-time data stream, or Internet "multi-cast" – which is a new "push" technology -- by anyone who pays the connection costs. This multi-cast now feeds a group of wholesale data users, including the original NIDS vendors, who retransmit these data and their own value-added products to their customers. Users can select and download, for free, any particular product by Internet FTP -- a traditional Internet "pull" technology. And a subset of these products are available free for anyone to view immediately using any Web browser.

At the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Albuquerque, N.M., retired Brig. Gen. Jack Kelly, director of the National Weather Service, said, "The Web-viewable radar provides a subset of the radar data in a convenient form. It also provides a common point of reference for real-time coordination with emergency managers, and serves as a link to the other two dissemination channels for those who might be interested in direct access to a broader range of products."

In addition to using these Internet technologies to disseminate radar data products, NWS also includes them on the existing NOAAPORT satellite broadcasting link, which is available to anyone with the necessary equipment.

Kelly said the new system "helps meet the needs of our customers and strengthens the existing partnership the Weather Service has with the private sector."

He added, "The private sector has more room to use its skills to take public weather, water, climate data – including forecasts and warnings – and turn it into products to meet their customers' specific needs."

NOTE TO MEDIA: For a clickable map of all National Weather Service Doppler radar units, visit: For the latest "Web-viewable" radar images, visit