Looker Blog : Data Matters

Weather and Climate Data for Business Intelligence: Q&A with Weather Source

Shohei Narron, Technology Partner Manager at Looker

May 5, 2020

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Mark Gibbas, CEO of Weather Source, and learn more about how they provide weather and climate data solutions for a growing list of companies across a variety of industries.

Plus, as a member of the Looker Partner Network, Weather Source now offers their Hyper-Local Weather and Climate Data as one of the newest additions to our Looker Block Directory.

Hi, Mark! Could you share with us a little bit about yourself and your company?

Sure! I’m a meteorologist who also has an extensive background in computer science and mathematics. This led me to found Weather Source in 2015, with the mission to make hyper-local weather and climate data accessible around the globe and across industries.

Weather Source helps companies quantify the impact of weather on their operations, reduce waste, increase return on investment, fine-tune logistics, deploy strategic marketing, improve resource planning, and more.

Can you share what data is available in the Weather Source Looker Block?

The Block features our entire dataset, which is a curated continuum of historical (from the year 2000), present, forecast (out to 46 days), and climatology weather data covering every landmass in the world and up to 200 miles offshore.

The free version of our Looker Block includes sample weather data consisting of two years of historical data, forecast data out seven days, and climatology data — all in daily format for 10,000 random U.S. ZIP codes. Those who choose to access the premium Block can apply hyper-local solutions tailored to the points of interest most relevant to their businesses — from lat/lon coordinates to geographically bounded areas such as ZIP or Postal Code, designated market area, metropolitan statistical area, etc.

Weather Source’s data is delivered via our high-resolution OnPoint grid, which ensures that a customer’s location of interest is never more than 1.2 miles away from a grid point.

Wow, that sounds like a massive dataset! Can you quantify it for us?

The Weather Source dataset is a little more than 1 petabyte and growing. For perspective, to store a single petabyte would require more than 745 million floppy disks or 1.5 million CD-ROMs.

Tell us more about the value Weather Source data can provide to Looker customers.

In the U.S. alone, weather accounts for more than $600 billion a year in lost revenue. Weather and climate can reveal meaningful observations for nearly any industry. For example, retail and food service companies can analyze weather’s effects on product sales and footfall traffic, finance organizations can optimize trade signals, energy providers can anticipate potential changes in demand, and so on. Pretty much every business has some degree of weather sensitivity.

What drew you to partner with Looker?

Looker’s philosophy of empowering people and organizations through data aligns perfectly with our mission at Weather Source. We also believe strongly in the many ways data can be applied across an organization as a vehicle for success. Our data is ideally suited for Looker’s plug-and-play Block method because it is accurate, reliable, and ready for immediate analysis.

When you say “ready for immediate analysis,” what do you mean by that?

It’s increasingly important that data be gap- and error-free, easy to use, and properly prepared for analytics and machine learning. It is tedious and time-intensive to manually correct for biases and inconsistencies when data is collected from numerous, disparate sources. By unifying inputs within our OnPoint Platform, Weather Source data is homogeneous and therefore streamlined for ease of integration into existing analytic workflows.

What weather data trends are you currently keeping an eye on?

We gather data from multiple inputs, including airport observation stations, satellites, radar, and IoT-enabled sensors. There are really exciting advances happening with regard to space-based weather observations in both the public and private sectors. Meanwhile, academically-led research teams are developing novel ways to apply AI and machine learning to advance weather forecasting, and 5G telecommunications promises to take the IoT to the next level.

We’re excited to see the many ways Looker users apply the Weather Source Block to advance their businesses, and our team looks forward to discovering new data sources that we can leverage for our customers this year and beyond.

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