Locationforecast 2.0

For the last couple of years we have been working on a new forecast backend (FORTI) to replace the decade-old, PostgreSQL-based store (WDB). While Locationforecast/1.9 has been running from FORTI for some months now in "compatibility mode", we have finally finalized the new JSON format which will become standard for all weather forecasts soon.

We are still busy fixing the documentation which is a bit rough in places, but take a look at the JSON format and data model documentation soon.

Version 2.0 comes in three different flavours:

/weatherapi/locationforecast/2.0/complete

This service endpoint will return a response with all available forecast parameters. As we make new forecast parameters available, they will be added to the responses for this service endpoint (we expect to include probability percentile data fairly soon). Also, some geographical areas will have more forecast parameters available than others.

/weatherapi/locationforecast/2.0/compact

This service endpoint will return a response with only a core set of forecast parameters. All forecast parameters in this endpoint will be available for every location. We will add new parameters to this endpoint as well, but much more rarely, and the size will not increase much. If you feel there is some useful parameters missing here, please let us know.

/weatherapi/locationforecast/2.0/classic

This service endpoint exists only for backwards compatibility purposes. The parameters in this endpoint and the XML format provided are identical with /locationforecast/1.9, but with more time intervals. Use this if you have an existing application and want to do minimal work to update it. We don't expect adding any more parameters (XML tags) to this format in the future.

We have also introduced an improved topography for the entire world, which should give more accurate temperature forecasts in some areas. This topography will be used if you do not specify altitude in your request. Note that the improved topography is still relatively coarse. We therefore recommend that you specify your own altitude in the request if you have access to your own topography data.

With great power comes great responsibility. Regardless if you're Voltaire, Churchill or Spider-Man, all users must now adhere to the Terms of Service (more below) more stringently. In particular you must pay more attention to the following rules:

  1. You must identify yourself with contact information in the User-Agent request header. Whereas requests without any such header or just a generic string (e.g. "okhttp/3.12.4") until now has been throttled, new products will return a 403 Forbidden instead.

  2. Truncate all geographical coordinates to max 4 decimals. There is not point asking for forecasts down to nanometer precision, and makes it impossible to cache data. While we previously have truncated the requests in the cache, this had to be done on a per-product basis. For new products we will instead implement this as a site-wide rule, where requests with 5+ decimals will return a 403 Forbidden.

  3. Requests like /weatherapi/locationforecast/2.0/?lat=... have been deprecated. While they will continue working for a limited time, you should always use one of the endpoints above, preferably /compact.

Termination of old products

Locationforecast 2.0 will be officially launched on Wednesday 17 June 2020. At the same time version 1.9 will be deprecated. A final termination date has not been set yet, but we plan on turning it off before xmas.

The already deprecated LocationforecastLTS will terminate on 1 Sept 2020. This gives you almost three months to port your applications to Locationforecast 2.0, if you havent already started.

UVforecast has been deprecated as UV data is now included in Locationforecast 2.0 JSON, and will also be terminated on 17 June.

We also expect to launch a version 2.0 of Nowcast in about a month, using FORTI and the same JSON format as Locationforecast.

Terms of Service

This is mainly a rewrite and clarification of the existing rules. While there is nothing radically new under the sun, the old TOS was confusing and badly organized, so many users missed vital points like User-Agent identification and started asking why they were being throttled. Hopefully this version should be clearer and more detailed.

The new TOS is still in draft state, but if you have any questions please let us know before we finalize it later this month.

Other products

There have been some minor changes to some specialized products:

verticalprofile

The "airquality" profile has been removed

airqualityforecast

New names of counties and municipalities according to the 2020 reform. E.g. "Buskerud/Røyken/Midtbygda/Røyken" has been changed to "Viken/Asker/Midtbygda/Røyken".

2020-06-12, Geir Aalberg