NOAA announces RFI to unleash power of 'big data'

Agency calls upon American companies to help solve 'big data' problem

February 24, 2014

Today, NOAA, part of the Department of Commerce, announced a new effort to unleash the power of its data to foster innovation, create new industries and job opportunities, and spur economic growth. NOAA, through a Request for Information, is looking to the private industry to help make NOAA's data available in a rapid, scalable manner to the public. 

Of the 20 terabytes of data NOAA gathers each day -- twice the data of the entire printed collection of the United States Library of Congress -- only a small percentage is easily accessible to the public. Through the RFI, American companies will be able to provide possible solutions for NOAA to be able to turn this untapped information into usable products or services. 

"From the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor, NOAA works to keep citizens informed about the changing environment around them," said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. "Our vast network of radars, satellites, buoys, ships, aircraft, tide gauges, and supercomputers keep tabs on the condition of our planet's health and provides critical information that's used to predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coastlines. As we continue to witness changes on this dynamic planet we call home, the demand for NOAA's data is only increasing." 

"Quite simply, NOAA is the quintessential big data agency," said Joe Klimavicz, NOAA's CIO. "However, due to limited resources, only a fraction of that data is effectively and efficiently made available to the public. Imagine the economic potential if more of these data could be released. Unleashing the power of NOAA's data will take creative and unconventional thinking, and it's a challenge we can't tackle alone." 

NOAA operates a number of operational platforms including: Doppler radar systems; weather satellites; buoy networks and stations; tide gauges; real-time weather stations; and ships and aircraft. This network provides valuable and critical data that are instrumental in protecting lives and property across the country. As demand increases for this data and information, NOAA must find ways to effectively and efficiently distribute it to decision makers and industries. 

More information about the RFI, including how to participate can be found here.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.