The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced new cloud contracts with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft to provide easier access to environmental data sets.

The separate multiyear contracts will provide the public with cloud-based access to NOAA’s data sets as the agency “generates tens of terabytes of data every day from satellites, radars, ships, weather models, and other sources.” Additionally, the new contracts are in line with the agency’s ongoing NOAA Big Data Project, which has a goal of making public access to the agency’s data simpler through the combination of the following:

  • The agency’s collection of high-quality environmental data and expertise;
  • Using the infrastructure and computing capabilities of industry partners; and
  • “the innovative energy of the American economy.”

“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 acting NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs. “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,” he said.

The NOAA Big Data Project that leverages public-private partnerships with cloud service providers also allows the public to access data without being charged for cloud storage or data access.

“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,” said Ed Kearns, acting Chief Data Officer at the Department of Commerce.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.