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AWS is How: The Met Office Delivers Valuable Weather Data to 3 Million People through Its Mobile Weather App

On AWS, the Met Office can deploy innovative features and solutions quickly for the Met Office Weather App, reducing iteration costs by 50 percent.

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You’re headed for a camping trip that you’ve been planning for months. As you approach your campsite, you notice that the sky looks gloomy. Dark clouds are quickly appearing. “This can’t be right,” you think. “I checked the weather yesterday, and everything looked clear!”

Fearing the worst, you open your smartphone and check your weather app, which shows high winds and rain. You groan. Your monthslong plans have been dashed in a matter of minutes. Don’t you wish you’d known about this stormy weather sooner?

This is where the Met Office’s National Severe Weather Warning Service comes in.

For over 160 years, the Met Office has provided valuable weather forecast information to the public, government agencies, and businesses across the United Kingdom. The national meteorological service used cloud-native technology from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build the Met Office Weather App (the App). Available for iPhone and Android, the App has been downloaded 9.5 million times since January 2016 and has a user base of 3 million people at any given time. In times of severe weather, usage of the App increases, doubling and sometimes even tripling.

The App makes accurate weather data accessible for millions, especially during unusual and extreme weather events. Users have local and global weather coverage from 1 hour to 7 days ahead, interactive rainfall and surface pressure maps, and real-time severe weather warnings across the United Kingdom. Users can personalize forecast consumption, making it simple to track the latest weather trends in specific locations. The App even notifies users about pollen exposure and air quality, supporting allergy management.

The App is powered by highly scalable, available, and secure cloud-native architecture built using multiple AWS services. It uses a combination of APIs, relational databases, and distributed data collection systems to deliver weather information to millions of devices. On average, the Met Office sees 1.5 million daily interactions using its National Severe Weather Warning Service. Over one 30-day period, the App delivered 20.7 million notifications.  

On AWS, the Met Office is driving the mass-market availability of customizable weather information with increased speed, agility, and scalability. Previously, the organization was limited in how much it could scale its weather data service. Using AWS services, the Met Office can scale the App to serve users during peak traffic times and unusual weather events, such as the Beast from the East in 2018.

Since its release, the App was listed as one of the top apps of 2016 by Google Play and received rave customer reviews. The App also won two World Meteorological Organization awards in 2020: one for weather warnings in the specialized apps category and another for information content in the public weather forecast category, which recognizes apps for usefulness, reliability, and quantity and quality of information.

Met Office app

On AWS, the Met Office can deploy innovative features and solutions quickly for the App, reducing iteration costs by 50 percent. Agencies, businesses, and the public have access to reliable forecasts direct from Met Office experts, with accurate and valuable weather predictions at their fingertips to support decision-making. The organization is making it simpler than ever to plan trips, initiate projects, and understand more about the world around us, all on a smartphone. Prepare for your next camping adventure with confidence.  

Behind the Innovation. AWS is How.