Our Data Access Policy

MetService produces and handles significant amounts of weather data. On this web page, we describe the kinds of data we acquire and their availability.

This policy applies to all MetService-controlled data, which includes proprietary data owned by MetService and third-party data that may be subject to limitations of use.

Data Categories

MetService-controlled data is categorised as follows:

  1. Observational data – representing measurements of the current state of the atmosphere, oceans, and earth’s surface.
  2. Model data – representing outputs from numerical weather prediction models and associated statistical (or other) post-processing models.
  3. Output data – representing information intended for use by clients or other end users, generally based on some combination of observational data, model data, and value-add by professional meteorologists.

Data Access Categories

MetService recognises four distinct levels of access to data – Open Access, Limited Access, Commercial Access, and Internal Access.

Open Access Data

These data are made freely available with no restrictions on use, except to the extent required to ensure that the data are not misused or misrepresented.

This includes:

  • A set of observational data, including surface observations, upper-air observations from radiosonde sites, satellite imagery and radar imagery, that is defined as Open Access Observational Data and specified as a service requirement within MetService’s contract with the Minister of Transport for public-safety weather services.
    You can obtain Open Access Observational Data through this page on our website: http://about.metservice.com/our-company/about-this-site/open-access-data/
  • Severe Weather Outlooks, Watches and Warnings provided as output data by MetService as part of its obligations under the Ministry of Transport contract. These are subject to a code of practice that is agreed with the Ministry of Transport and published on our website here: http://www.metservice.com/warnings/home
  • All output data produced and distributed, under the contract with the Minister of Transport, to meet New Zealand’s obligations to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in respect of MetService’s designations as RSMC Wellington and TCWC Wellington. This includes, for example, high-seas marine forecasts and warnings for the South Pacific, and advisory messages related to Tropical Cyclones. 
    For more information about MetService’s role in tropical cyclone monitoring, visit this page on our website: http://about.metservice.com/our-company/national-weather-services/tropical-cyclones/

The Open Access Data described above includes all data that MetService is obligated to freely exchange with other WMO Member States under the terms of WMO Resolution 40

For more information about MetService’s obligations to the WMO for open data exchange, and what Resolution 40 entails, click here.

Limited Access Data

These data are made freely available to end users subject to restrictions on use and, in some cases, reasonable costs for packaging and delivery of the data (but without any charge for the data themselves).

This includes:

  • A wide range of MetService proprietary observational, model and output data that are made freely available on MetService’s public website, restricted to personal use only as per the website Terms of Use.
  • Geostationary satellite data provided by the Japanese Meteorological Agency via a cloud service to MetService as the designated New Zealand recipient, under the condition that it be made available to users on request, subject to reasonable charges for data dissemination.
  • Other observational data deemed essential under WMO Resolution 40 and received by MetService from other Member States via the WMO international data exchange systems.

Categorisation of MetService proprietary data as Limited Access Data is at MetService’s discretion, and is generally based on consideration of public-safety interests, the broader interests of the New Zealand public, and the commercial value of the data.

Commercial Access Data

These data are made available on a commercial basis, at an agreed price that reflects the market value of the data and any restrictions on how the data may be used. In principle, any MetService-controlled data may be treated as Commercial Access Data, excepting Open Access Data and any third-party data subject to restrictions on commercial use.

Internal Access Data

These data are restricted to internal use only within MetService and its subsidiaries. This includes third-party data that are restricted to internal use only.

MetService’s Obligations as a State-Owned Enterprise

The State-Owned Enterprises Act (1986) requires that MetService’s principal objective be to operate as a successful business, and in particular that it be:

a) as profitable and efficient as comparable businesses that are not owned by the Crown; and

b) a good employer; and

c) an organisation that exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so.

In August 2011, the Minister of Finance released the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government, which commits the Government to actively releasing high-value public data. The associated Cabinet Minute (CAB Min (11) 29/12) invites, but does not obligate, State Sector Agencies (which includes State-Owned Enterprises), to commit to the release of public data, free of charge where possible, and for unrestricted use. The Cabinet Minute can be accessed online here.

MetService-controlled data have commercial value, in the context of both direct sales and as essential inputs into value-add commercial products and services. In its acquisition and use of data, MetService has to maintain a balance between the requirements (a) and (c) above – profitability and efficiency, and social responsibility – as described in the State-Owned Enterprises Act (1986). While the provision of open data would be consistent with MetService’s obligations regarding social responsibility, it would in general reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the commercial value of those data.

MetService’s Obligations to the WMO for Open Data Exchange

At the 12th World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Congress in 1995, Member States passed a resolution on the international exchange of basic data, which is now commonly referred to as “Resolution 40”. It balances the importance of international exchange of meteorological data between Members against the right of any State to control its own data, as well as the trend towards commercialisation as a means of funding the activities of National Meteorological Services.

Resolution 40 relates only to exchange of data between States, and does not impose any obligations on how data is distributed internally within a State. However, provision of data for free and unrestricted use under the terms of Resolution 40 effectively places that data in the public domain, even though it may not be readily accessible to the general public.

The resolution (in part):

Adopts the following practice on the international exchange of meteorological and related data and products:
Members shall provide on a free and unrestricted basis essential data and products which are necessary for the provision of services in support of the protection of life and property and the well-being of all nations, particularly those basic data and products, as, at a minimum, described in Annex 1 to this resolution, required to describe and forecast accurately weather and climate, and support WMO Programmes.

In this context, “free and unrestricted” means non-discriminatory with respect to data usage, and at a price not exceeding the cost of reproduction and delivery (i.e. without charge for the data and products themselves).

Annex 1 to the resolution, which describes the minimum set of data and products for free and unrestricted exchange, is provided below.

Two subsequent resolutions extend the principles of Resolution 40 to hydrological data (Resolution 25 of the 13th WMO Congress in 1999) and climatological data (Resolution 60 of the 17th WMO Congress in 2015). However, MetService’s specific data exchange obligations on behalf of New Zealand remain as described in Resolution 40. WMO resolutions related to international data exchange can be accessed online here.

Annex I to Resolution 40 (Cg-XII)
Data and products to be exchanged without charge and with no conditions on use


The purpose of this listing of meteorological and related data and products is to identify a minimum set of data and products which are essential to support WMO Programmes and which Members shall exchange without charge and with no conditions on use. The meteorological and related data and products which are essential to support WMO Programmes include, in general, the data from the RBSNs and as many data as possible that will assist in defining the state of the atmosphere at least on a scale of the order of 200 km in the horizontal and six to 12 hours in time.


(1) Six-hourly surface synoptic data from RBSNs, e.g. data in SYNOP, BUFR or other general purpose WMO Code;
(2) All available in situ observations from the marine environment, e.g. data in SHIP, BUOY, BATHY, TESAC codes, etc.;
(3) All available aircraft reports, e.g. data in AMDAR, AIREP codes, etc.;
(4) All available data from upper air sounding networks, e.g. data in TEMP, PILOT, TEMP SHIP, PILOT SHIP codes etc.;
(5) All reports from the network of stations recommended by the regional associations as necessary to provide a good representation of climate, e.g. data in CLIMAT/CLIMAT TEMP and CLIMAT SHIP/CLIMAT TEMP SHIP codes, etc.;
(6) Products distributed by WMCs and RSMCs to meet their WMO obligations;
(7) Severe weather warnings and advisories for the protection of life and property targeted upon end-users;
(8) Those data and products from operational meteorological satellites that are agreed between WMO and satellite operators. (These should include data and products necessary for operations regarding severe weather warnings and tropical cyclone warnings).