WFS Interface

The Meteomatics WFS (Web Feature Service) follows the OGC WFS 1.0.0 standard. It is designed to provide georeferenced features such as lightning strikes, storm paths, and weather station data. WFS layers are easily added in popular GIS software such as ArcGIS Online and Desktop or QGIS.

The interface is located at

https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?

The following chapters briefly describe the supported requests. Please refer to the OGC documentation for further details.

GetCapabilities Request

The GetCapabilities request returns an XML that describes the basic capabilities of the WFS. This includes basic information like the supported query types and the names of the available feature types with their geographic region. The GetCapabilities request is constructed as follows:

https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?SERVICE=WFS&VERSION=1.0.0&REQUEST=GetCapabilities

The GetCapabilities XML contains a list of all the currently available feature types. More details regarding a specific feature type can be queried by means of the DescribeFeatureType request as described below.

DescribeFeatureType Request

The DescribeFeatureType-Request delivers an XML schema document that specifies what the XML response to a GetFeature request for a specific feature type may contain, e.g. station data this will include all the queryable parameters. For the feature type stations_mix-obs, this request takes the following form:

https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?SERVICE=WFS&VERSION=1.0.0&REQUEST=DescribeFeatureType&TYPENAME=stations_mix-obs

If you wish to query data from weather models on the station locations (models listed here) and rely on the corresponding XML schema document, you'll need to include the parameters into the URL as done in the GetFeature request below. For example if you were to query the parameter total_cloud_cover:p which is not delivered by stations_mix-obs, you would include it into the URL as follows:

https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?SERVICE=WFS&VERSION=1.0.0&REQUEST=DescribeFeatureType&TYPENAME=stations_mix-obs&PARAMETERS=total_cloud_cover:p

Please note that in this case the XML schema document will only contain the queried parameters.

GetFeature Request

The GetFeature-Request fetches data. A basic GetFeature-Request according to the WFS 1.0.0 standard is constructed as follows:

https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?VERSION=1.0.0&REQUEST=GetFeature&TYPENAME=<feature_type>&BBOX=<min_lon,min_lat,max_lon_max_lat>&MAXFEATURES=<max_features>

The two optional standard WFS arguments BBOX and MAXFEATURES limit the amount of features that will appear in the XML file. If a bounding box (BBOX) is specified, the XML response will contain only features located within the specified area. The MAXFEATURES parameter caps the amount of delivered features to the specified number. Their use (especially of the bounding box) is recommended as some feature lists are rather expansive, and therefore the GetFeature response will be a large XML file.

Parameter Description Example
BBOX A bounding box specified by maximal and minimal latitude and longitude formatted according to BBOX=<min_lon,min_lat,max_lon_max_lat> (please note the order). The response will only contain features that are located within this area. If left unspecified, all available features will be returned. BBOX=47.9,5.8_45.7,10.7
MAXFEATURES An unsigned integer specifying the maximal amount of features contained in the XML response, where it is not specified which features are to be omitted. Unbounded if left unspecified. MAXFEATURES=100
TIME A single point in UTC time as documented in Time Description. The response depends on the feature type, see the examples below. TIME=2018-04-12T12:45Z

The two main WFS feature types, lightnings and several weather station types, are described in more detail below.

Lightning Strikes

With the feature type lightnings you can query the lightning strikes during the 5 minute period ending with the specified TIME, for which we use the current time if not specified. The XML response contains additional information in the form of the currents and strike time.

The following example request will return the locations as well as strike times and currents of the lightning strikes during the last 5 minutes over Switzerland:

https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?SERVICE=WFS&VERSION=1.0.0&REQUEST=GetFeature&TYPENAME=lightnings&BBOX=5.77,45.74,10.65,47.89

Larger intervals can be queried through the API, see here.

Station Data

Currently there are two available station feature types: stations_mix-obs, which contains most of our combined observational data, and stations_mm-mos for our MOS forecast. In order to fetch data from these weather stations, you'll need to use our custom parameter PARAMETERS:

Parameter Description Example
PARAMETERS The parameters that you wish to query formatted as a comma-separated list as specified here. The DescribeFeatureType contains all the relevant parameters provided by the station type. For technical reasons the name of the XML node will have the colons (:) replaced with an underscore (_), e.g. t_2m:C will end up as t_2m_C. For WFS purposes only you may also use this format in the queries. t_2m:C,dew_point_2m:C or t_2m_C,dew_point_2m_C

Together with the parameters already mentioned above, this allows to query station data for the purposes listed in the following table:

Goal Mandatory parameters Effect of TIME on the response Example query
Station List TYPENAME: stations_mix-obs for observational data,stations_mm-mos for MOS forecast. Returns the entire list of stations if unspecified, otherwise only stations that have data available at that time. https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?SERVICE=WFS&VERSION=1.0.0&REQUEST=GetFeature&TYPENAME=stations_mix-obs&TIME=2018-04-12T13:00Z&BBOX=5.77,45.74,10.65,47.89
Station Data TYPENAME as above, PARAMETERS from the list of possible parameters provided by the stations (c.f. the DescribeFeatureType response). Time stamp of the queried data. If not supplied, we use the current time minus one hour and floor that to the last full hour, meaning that the data is 1-2 hours old. https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?SERVICE=WFS&VERSION=1.0.0&REQUEST=GetFeature&TYPENAME=stations_mix-obs&TIME=2018-04-12T13:00Z&PARAMETERS=t_2m:C,precip_1h:mm&BBOX=5.77,45.74,10.65,47.89

Please be aware that not all weather stations can provide all the parameters that are advertised by the DescribeFeatureType XML. Unavailable parameters will have no node in the XML response and GIS software usually leaves the corresponding space in the attribute table empty or indicates the absence by something like NULL.

POST Requests

For brevity we will only briefly describe how to perform POST GetFeature requests with custom parameters. Regarding the XML body of the message, please refer to the OGC documentation. POST requests are to be made to the URL

https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs

if you do not need any of our custom parameters or do not need to make a specialized GetFeature request. For our custom parameters there is a little caveat: as the WFS 1.0.0 standard contains no place in the XML for custom parameters, you will need to include them as optionals into the above URL as follows:

https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?parameters=<parameters>&model=<model>&time=<time>

For example POSTing the XML body for a GetFeature request for the feature stations_mix-obs to the URL

https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?parameters=t_2m:C&model=ecmwf-ifs&time=2018-04-12T12:45Z&BBOX=5.77,45.74,10.65,47.89

will lead to the same response as in the example above. The currently accepted content types for POST requests are text/xml and application/xml.

Online ESRI ArcGIS (WFS Instruction)

If you use the online versions of ESRI ArcGIS, follow the instructions below to include our WFS interface for working with station data. Start by opening Online ESRI ArcGIS and logging in:

You can add a layer by clicking on the Add button and then selecting Add Layer from Web from the drop down menu:

Pick the data type A WFS OGC Web Service and enter our WFS URL https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs?. After clicking on the get layers button, which asks you to enter your Meteomatics API account credentials, you will be able to select a layer and add it with add layer.

Please note that this queries only a station list and therefore the data content is some general information about the stations, for example name and elevation. If you wish to query weather data, please follow the following instructions.

Querying data with custom parameters

In order to make full use of our WFS interface, you will need to be able to add custom parameters to the query, so let us demonstrate this by going over the steps that are required to query a WFS feature type for a specific TIME. The other custom parameters described above can then be used in the exact same manner.

When adding the layer, you can directly add custom parameters with Add Custom Parameters:

If you have already added the layer, you can change it by going to the layer options and making use of WFS OGC Options.

Choose add parameter and enter the desired parameter, which is TIME in this example, and the time you're interested in.

As before click on get layers, pick the feature of interest and click on add layer:

An example WFS query to map stations_mix-obs stations results in the following view:

QGIS (WFS Instruction)

If you use the free and open source geographic information system QGIS you can follow the instructions below to add our WFS interface to access our WFS.

Start by opening QGIS and add a WFS-Layer as depicted below:

Connect with the Meteomatics WFS Server by creating a New server connection

Fill in the name of Name of the service, for example with Meteomatics WFS, as well as our WFS URL https://api.meteomatics.com/wfs. Enter your user name and password for your Meteomatics API account,

and then Connect to the Meteomatics WFS:

Afterwards you can select your desired layer and add it:

For the example of stations_dwd-climate, this results with the following display:

Please note that there is currently no way to supply our custom parameters in QGIS, and therefore our WFS functionality is therefore only partially accessible.

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