Microsoft-AccuWeather partnership adds capabilities to Azure Maps

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The arrangement is intended to help Microsoft customers get the most accurate weather forecast data, the companies said.

Images: ekapol, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Here’s a novel thought: Instead of worrying about what the weather may bring, know what’s headed your enterprise’s way with a data assist from Microsoft Azure Maps and AccuWeather. The companies announced this week that AccuWeather would be integrating its weather data on Microsoft Azure Maps in an exclusive arrangement designed to help Microsoft customers get “access to the most accurate weather forecast data.”

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According to the announcement, “The integration of AccuWeather’s data, current conditions and weather forecasts and warnings into the Azure Maps platform complements and broadens the current offering of other types of mapping data, such as traffic and public transportation.”

Chris Pendleton, Azure Maps Group program manager for Microsoft, wrote in a blog post highlighting the partnership: “We can embrace weather and use weather data to our advantage by integrating it into our daily lives.” 

As TechRepublic’s Simon Bisson explained last August, “Microsoft’s Azure Maps is a platform for building your own mapping applications, offering a backend with mapping tiles and tools for adding overlays, routing vehicles (especially commercial transport), and providing demographic and other information.”

Pendleton of Azure said the AccuWeather partnership “means customers now have a simple means of integrating highly dynamic, real-time weather data and visualizations into their applications.”

That means transportation companies, for example, can “feed weather information into dynamic routing algorithms to determine the best route conditions for their respective loads,” he said.

“Agriculturalists, he added, “can have their smart sprinkler systems running connected
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informed of incoming rain, saving crops from overwatering and conserving the delicate resource that is water.”

Retailers can use forecasts to determine the need for high-volume goods, optimizing their supply chains, Pendleton said.

AccuWeather noted that Azure Maps includes severe weather alerts delivered by AccuWeather “to provide people and businesses with critical, timely notifications when dangerous weather threatens for the protection of life and property and to help ensure enhanced safety and business continuity.”

To ensure customers can transport goods safely, a feature called Weather Along A Route is integrated, AccuWeather said, providing up-to-the-minute weather forecasts that give clients access to weather conditions at every point along a journey.

“Weather impacts everything we do,” said AccuWeather President Steven R. Smith in a statement, “and businesses require location and mapping analytics capabilities to power their decision-making.” 

To access AccuWeather’s data in the Azure Maps platform, go Azure Maps documentation and create an Azure Maps account. 

According to Pendleton, the Azure Maps Weather Services is in preview. Here are some other capabilities, he said:

  • Weather Tile API: Fetches radar and infrared raster weather tiles formatted to be integrated into the Azure Maps SDKs. By default, Azure Maps uses vector map tiles for its web SDK (see Zoom Levels and Tile Grid). Use of the Azure Maps SDK is not required and developers are free to integrate the Azure Maps Weather Services into their own Azure Maps applications as needed.

  • Current Conditions: Returns detailed current weather conditions such as precipitation, temperature and wind for a given coordinate location. By default, the most current weather conditions will be returned. Observations from the past six or 24 hours for a particular location can be retrieved.

  • Minute Forecast: Request minute-by-minute forecasts for a given location for the next 120 minutes. Users can request weather forecasts in the interval of one, five and 15 minutes. The response will include details such as the type of precipitation (including rain, snow or a mixture of both), start time and precipitation intensity value.

  • Hourly Forecast: Request detailed weather forecast by the hour for the next 1, 12, 24 (one day), 72 (three days), 120 (five days), and 240 hours (10 days) for the given coordinate location. The API returns details such as temperature, humidity, wind, precipitation and ultraviolet (UV) index.

  • Quarter-Day Forecast: Request detailed weather forecast by quarter-day for the next one, five, 10 or 15 days for a given location. Response data is presented by quarters of the day—morning, afternoon, evening and overnight. Details such as temperature, humidity, wind, precipitation and UV index are returned.

  • Daily Forecast: Returns detailed weather forecasts such as temperature, humidity, wind by day for the next one, five, 10, 15, 25 or 45 days for a given coordinate location. The API returns details such as temperature, humidity, wind, precipitation and UV index.

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