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WMO Core Metadata - Data Policy

1. Introduction

Data policy is (a set of) requirements about how the data should (or shall, no matter how strong) be handled. WIS Discovery Metadata describes the data policy of the data and information on the WIS.

Section 2 of this page describes the concepts and terminology used in this guideline. Section 3 gives examples on common use cases.

2. Terminology

There are many types of data policies, and most of terms are often blamed as jargons for newcomers. It should be worth reviewing here.

2.1. Types of policy

2.1.1. Limited distribution

Some information comes with limited distribution, that means people out of the group should not be allowed to access the information. Distributor of the information, which is a WIS center in this context, should have some prcedure to confirm whether the user belongs to appropriate group. That does not mean the WIS center must identify the user by themselves; it may forward the user's access request to the data provider, and also it is possible to have new WIS-wide arrangement that pre-defined group (for example all NMHS) may access to the information. Anyway limited distribution requires authorization of users.

Similar case is restriction on use purposes, for example non-profit purposes. This could be considered as indirect specification of limited distribution from the information system perspective; what the WIS centre can do is to authorize the users, with some condition for example agreement to the license given by the data provider.

Above kinds of limitations are not to be confused with classification, which is the level of sensitivity and is independent from the scope of distribution. If a military (or commercial) organization classifies certain information as confidential, secret, or top secret, that means only the difference of sensitivity which is usually defined by the difference in procedure (typically the rank of official to authorize) for security clearance. Regardless the difference the information is to be held within the organization and maybe close allies.

2.1.2. Limited guarantee on quality

Another category of data policy relates to the quality of information.

Some information expires on certain period from the time of issue. Typical language is `do not use this message after (date),' but that is about operational usage, and other usage for example later research won't be prohibited. It is more general to say the guarantee of quality for operational usage expires at that time.

Some other data comes with disclaimer which could be generalized as denial of, i.e. zero-period guarrantee of quality. In this case the data provider tends to request information system (WIS centres in this context) to deliver the exact (lengthy) text of disclaimer to the end users. It might be possible, in near future, to make it mandatory for WIS Catalogue to display such long text referenced by URL to some common repository and keep the metadata records compact, but as a matter of current practice people chose to include verbatim text in each record.

2.1.3. Oblication of users

There is some sort of demands to place obligation on users to do something.

Request for academic citation is the most typical kind of such obligation. Basically it is a kind of restriction on use, so the information with such request is no longer restriction-free. It is worth noting, however, that there is an effort to harmonize the academic interest and the restriction-free policy on the intellectual property right (IPR); In the open source software communities, it is common to make a request for citation based on scientific propriety separated from ordinary IPRs (cf. Debian guideline for example).

Please note that the academic data provider sometimes have more requests than being cited. Where the competition is intense, sometimes the data provider requests contact from the users for instruction on co-authorship or acknowledgement before making any academic publications. The 13th session of CAS requests such practice for the users of GAW (Global Atmosphere Watch).

2.1.4. Obligation of delivery (GTS)

Not only users, but data distributors may have obligation. The distribution scope and the GTS priority is such example in WIS.

Put simply, the distribution scope is the flag to identify GTS data. The GTS (Global Telecommunication System) is a part of WIS which is currently regulated by the Manual on GTS. It has long history of delivery by push protocols evolved from telegram. In WIS the delivery will be reorganized, ultimately, into new network in which GISCs plays the role of hubs. The question now is: which data a GISC must send to other GISCs? The three categories of the codelist WMO_DistributionScopeCode is prepared to answer the question:
  • The data marked GlobalExchange is a part of GTS data. It shall be collected from originating NC/DCPC to the principal GISC, distributed to all GISCs (the reason of name 'global'), then placed on their GISC caches. When agreed with NC/DCPCs, each GISC shall deliver the data to the centres in realtime basis. Such delivery is the obligation of WIS centres involved. For example, observation reports from RBSN/RBCN/AntON is expected to fall on this category unless otherwise agreed.
  • The data marked RegionalExchange is another part of GTS data. It will be delivered by the same method as GlobalExchange data, but the scope is limited. The region may be, but not limited to, WMO Regional Association, area of responsibility of RSMC, or just two WMO Members by bilateral agreement. Looking at current practice on GTS, regional warning or voluminous NWP product will fall on this category unless otherwise agreed.
  • The data marked OriginatingCentre is all other data. It is a synonym of informal word 'non-GTS data'. There is no obligation to maintain delivery of the data as described in the Manual on GTS.
The GTS has another kind of classification on data handling: priority of dissemination. That is described in metadata using the codelist WMO_GTSProductCategoryCode, takinge one of GTSPriority1 to GTSPriority4 values.

2.1.5. `No limitations' data

Some data is described as `No limitation and no condition' to access. It's practical to take this status as the lack of above-mentioed restriction:
  • `No limitation' means nobody will be refused access
  • `No condition' means no restriction on usage and no obligation on users.
In metadata records, the keyword No limitation is used to describe the combination of there two properties. This is WCMP recommendation following the INSPIRE IR.
It is unclear, at least at the time of writing, whether the keyword `No limitations' means following:
  • No user registration needed
  • There is URL for ad-hoc immmediate download

2.2. Real policies

2.2.1. WMO Resolution 40 (Cg-XII)

The resolution 40 of twelfth World Meteorological Congress covers meteologogical data and products. There are two categories: the essential data is no-limitation, no-conditions, and the additional data comes with conditions regarding commercial re-export. The nature of restriction on the additional data can be explained as the mixture of limitation of use purpose (commercial) and distribution scope (re-export).
The additional data is designated by the originating country (by letter from the permanent representative of the WMO member state to the WMO Secretariat, then they publishes it on the web), while the annex I to the resolution 40 gives a list of data and product that has to be provided as the essential data. The originating country shall ensure the metadata records describing the additional data have the keyword WMOAdditional, and that for the essential data have WMOEssential.
When serving the additional data for ad-hoc pull downloading, access control by authentication is usually necessary for the additional data.
The resolution requires only ensuring the condition being observed, so other types of control is conceivable, for example domestic data service without authentication in a jurisdiction where breaking the license agreement constitutes a property crime; but in the WIS context of international service, the user registration and authentication is only practical control invented so far for the additional data.

The essential data does not have this requirement, but the GISCs may also require user authentication for technical purposes such as management of bandwidth.

2.2.2. WMO Resolution 25 (Cg-XIII)

This resolution covers hydrological data and products. It has similar content to the meteorological counterpart, Resolution 40 (Cg-XII), with slight differences:
  • The data that shall be essential is the data and products which are necessary for the provision of services in support of the protection of life and property and for the well-being of all peoples [Adopts(1)],
  • Hence the data and products that are provided primarily for the research and education communities for their non-commercial activities may come with condition on commercial re-export [Adopts(3)], and
  • The list and the condition for the non-essential data do not have to be reported to the WMO Secretariat [Adopts(6)].
For practical perspective of data management, any data provided with free and unrestricted basis should be marked as WMOEssential and the other data with some conditions should be marked as WMOAdditional.

2.2.3. ICAO

The Resolution 40 (Cg-XII) states the operational meteorological (OPMET) information governed by ICAO is out of scope of the resolution itself. The keyword WMOOther is prepared for (but not limited to) describe data in this category.
See (TBD) for ICAO policy.


Resolution IOC-XXII-6 'IOC Oceanographic Data Exchange Policy' gives the policy of UNESCO/IOC. It acknowledges the right of originating country or the data originator to lay the terms of data provision.
Right now there is no specific keyword is defined for IOC, and WMOOther should be used.

2.2.5. GAW

(TBD - need to look for text to cite)

2.2.6. Creative Commons

Some (typically multi-disciplinary) data centres uses a Creative Commons (CC) License (typically CC-BY) as their data policy. The CC Licenses are described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/.

3. Encoding Examples

See page MDG_Access for examples.
(Guidance prepared by GA will be placed there.)

4. Decoding Guidelines


Page last modified on Friday 13 of November, 2015 09:15:10 CET