• generation of a limited set of products based upon the raw observations, most notably graphical presentations of data fields and analyses thereof,

  • pointers to more sophisticated products generated externally, such as analyses produced from a short-term model prediction and multiple observation sources,

  • pointers back to data providers, where more products and services are available,

  • establishment of a link to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) for archival of selected data, as deemed appropriate by NCDC,

  • development and provision of software tools and internet connectivity for data searches, information mining, and bulk data transmissions,

  • development and provision of a limited set of end-user applications software, which would enable selection of default network data configurations for major applications as well as tools for creation of custom network data configurations, and

  • provision of a data quality control service with objective, statistically based error-checking for all major categories of data, including manual intervention and feedback to providers.

The premise for these services is to

  • have expert assistance in establishing and maintaining standards for the data provided,

  • know which additional data are available and suitable to one’s own application,

  • have compatibility with and ease of access to selected observations and analyses,

  • ensure the archival of selected data commensurate with their useful lifetimes, and

  • gain ease of access to the products and services of other providers.

The Primacy of Metadata

Metadata (information about the instruments themselves and how they are sited and used) should be required of every component in an integrated, multi-use observing system and should be kept up to date. Observational data have maximum value only if they are accompanied by comprehensive metadata. Examples follow:

  • contact information for person or organization responsible for providing data



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