The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that it has entered into separate multi-year contracts with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft to host NOAA data for public use.
“NOAA’s wealth of world-class environmental data will now be more accessible through partnerships with commercial cloud providers, which will allow the agency to better manage a rapidly increasing volume of data going forward,” said Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator. “Cloud-based storage and processing is the future. Not only will this improved accessibility enhance NOAA’s core mission to protect life and property, but it will also open up new and exciting areas of research at universities and significant market opportunities for the private sector.”
The Big Data Project – started in 2015 – provides the tens of terabytes of data it collects daily to researchers and entrepreneurs with the aim of sparking new economies and a better understanding of our environment. The original contract with five cloud service providers developed a pipeline for NOAA’s data to be stored in those cloud providers’ systems, then be made available to the public.
“The Big Data Project’s cloud service providers have shown incredible commitment to open data principles, and they clearly understand the value of NOAA’s data to their customers and to the Nation’s economy,” Ed Kearns, acting chief data officer at the Commerce Department, said.
Under the contracts, the cloud platform providers can charge for compute or other services related to additional processing of NOAA data, but are required to provide free and open access to the data itself.
“Technology is transforming how we understand our ever-changing world,” said Kate Brandt, sustainability officer at Google. “Through the NOAA Big Data Project, Google Cloud can help researchers, innovators, and organizations analyze data to tackle a range of environmental challenges—regardless of their size or computing power.”