Consistency v accuracy
As BBC Weather continues to extend its reach and range of services on television, radio, interactive, online and mobile it is becoming a hot topic of conversation as to whether we concentrate our efforts on working with the Met Office to improve the accuracy of the weather data or the consistency of that data between all of our services and platforms; of course in reality and over time we need to do both.
To assess where we have got to Claire Douglas, BBC Weathers Producer, data and graphics explains how the process for ingesting and delivering the weather data works:
"One of the major drivers for moving to a new Weather system in 2005 was to be able to provide consistent weather data throughout the BBC.
Previously a significant amount of manual work was needed at the BBC Weather Centre; each forecaster/presenter would create a collection of slides and manually add symbols and temperatures to the core maps. This data was limited to that presentation and was therefore not shared across the website or Ceefax.
Our current weather system, provided by Metra who are based in New Zealand, is set up to ingest weather data from the Met Office and push the information to all platforms as soon as it is available. Any changes made at the BBC Weather Centre or in the Nations and Regions are fed back to the central database and synchronised with all the databases, as well as Ceefax, the Weather website and applications such as Facebook."
This approach ensures a consistent message is available wherever you are viewing BBC Weather output. Progress continues, this week we have improved the updates from the weather database to the website for site specific information - every 30 minutes any changes to this information are delivered to the website at bbc.co.uk/weather to our mobile weather service, BBC Ceefax and to BBCi.
We are questioned about our ability to be consistent but with the majority of our TV and radio output being live we have the opportunity to make changes right at the last minute - this means we are setting very high standards.
There is a balance to be struck and we are dealing with a continually developing weather story 24/7 but I believe that improvements in technology and speed of data transfer can only improve matters further in time.