ing appropriate standards, thereby contributing to the broader utility of their data.
“Ownership” of the data collected by a mesoscale network can often be a barrier to its use. Prospective users may be unwilling to live with restrictions placed on redistribution or may not understand the rationale for such restrictions. On the other hand, some organizations may assume that provider “ownership” implies legal liability if data are shared or used outside their organization and then found to be missing or inaccurate. One way to finesse such objections is to release station data in real time, but only for assimilation into NoN analyses. Raw station data would remain proprietary to the provider and available on a fee-for-service basis for point-specific subscriber applications. The fabric of society is very complex in these respects, and such circumstances require individual attention. A viable business model should include legal empowerment to negotiate data access and to facilitate data restrictions on a case-by-case basis. Legal empowerment should include advocacy for and being the beneficiary of “hold harmless” legislation in the case of liability concerns.
A common barrier likely shared by every mesoscale network is the generation and application of resources adequate to the task. This applies equally to the acquisition of new networks and/or observation systems and to the maintenance and operation of existing networks. On a federal scale, there are institutional (e.g., congressional appropriation) barriers to cost sharing or cost transfers from one agency to another and rigidly enforced restrictions associated with funding mechanisms to non-federal and nongovernmental providers and users. A viable business model should have significant flexibility to effect the transfer of funds and to exchange in-kind resources with alacrity among different types of organizations.
The Committee has noted the wide dynamic range in the scale and sophistication of providers and users, ranging from individuals to federal agencies and Fortune 500 corporations. Somewhat independent of the overarching organization (business) model, it is useful to define four broad tiers of NoN participation (Table 7.3). While each tier is heterogeneous in its makeup, the tiers each define a typical level of technical expertise and/or mission similarity in the operation of mesonets and in the treat-