When accuracy isn’t good enough

An Automated Surface Observation System station platform in Haines, Alaska, providing weather observations from the airport. Photo courtesy: Tom Burgdorf for NOAA

Hello everyone,

This evening, I made a very interesting decision for our subscribers. Working with our CTO and programmer Ryan Hickman, we successfully transitioned using the FAA and aviation databases from governments around the world to plot our METARs, instead of using the database that the National Weather Service uses. This should show up globally within the next 24 hours, but it is available with our Gibson Ridge placefiles.

Why the change? With the super-resolution radar now being available to all of our customers, a few them, including our company CTO, Ryan Hickman, noticed that the ASOS sites and AWOS sites were off at a number of airports. As it turns out, some of the airports never got their accuracy revised when GPS came out, and they are only accurate out to two decimal places.

With the FAA using a much modernized database, as well as governments around the world doing the same, it became obvious that their databases were accurate to 5 to 15 digits, depending on the country. Even though the locations of the actual physical location of the ASOS/AWOS (Automated Surface Observation System, and Automated Weather Observing System for smaller airports) could be off very slightly, the plot location would, in general, be more accurate.

And so, check your local ASOS/AWOS or equivalent weather station to see if it is accurate; this update requires you to do nothing. If not, drop us a line, and we’ll fix it! We had one site that had a minor issue, but that has been taken care of.

Enjoy!

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