Guidelines for Data Use

General Guidelines

The Unidata Program is not responsible for the use of the data it provides. However, all users agree to comply with the Unidata Pariticipation and the Data Policy. Additionally, there are some restrictions on the usage of data (see International Data and Products with Controlled Access-WMO Resolution 40) acquired through the Unidata Program. The general guideline covering all types of data is data are provided solely for education and research purposes. That is based on the following:

  1. The reliability, quality and completeness of data gained through Unidata is intended to be used in an education or research context. It is assumed that outages and errors can happen and are dealt with by the users of the data (see footnote)*. These data are not guaranteed for use in operational or decision-making settings.
  2. Unidata is funded by the National Science Foundation to support education and research. Therefore, the terms and conditions under which Unidata acquires data reflect that objective.
  3. Data providers make reasonable efforts to ensure that the data they provide are accurate. Specifically, Unidata does not perform any Quality Control (QC) on data it acquires and provides nor does it provide Quality Assurance (QA) information on those data sets. If QC/QA is done, it is provided at the data source.

Specific Guidelines

Specific guidelines apply to particular data streams, and some of these require agreements between each user organization and the provider of the data.

Lightning Data
Unique data streams such as the lightning data, where private firms (WSI and Vaisala) perform all steps in the process of taking measurements, assembling the data, and creating products before making them available to the Unidata community, are examples of data streams that require separate agreements between the user and the provider. While the access to lightning data by universities (especially on the current no-cost basis) represents a significant opportunity regardless of any usage constraints that may be imposed, users shall respect restrictions on access and use of such proprietary data and comply with terms and conditions of use set by the data provider. For additional information on these datasets, see the data feed descriptions linked from the Lightning Data page.

Data acquired from the Unidata-Wisconsin datastream or NOAAPORT via the NWS Telecommunication Gateway are free and openly available for data exchange, with the exception of the international datasets affected by WMO Resolution 40.

Data Availability

There are many data streams made available for use with Unidata systems.

Unidata governing committees discuss potential data streams of interest on behalf of the community and the Unidata Program researches the feasibility of provision of the data sets. Community members may offer particular data sets to other participants or use Unidata tools to provide data to their collaborators.

The Unidata Program requests an acknowledgement (in publications, conference papers, etc) from those who use data received with Unidata systems, and tools and software. Such an acknowlegement is highly valuable to support continued funding for the Unidata Program. In case of proprietary data, data providers may require additional attribution of data acquired from them.

*Note: Due to Internet Data Distribution system, commercial level of reliability is not guaranteed. Those needing data for operational or decision-making purposes should acquire them directly from the private vendors.