What is Synoptic?

Synoptic provides a one-stop data hub for environmental data. We aggregate, quality control, and make available tens of millions of geophysical observations and measurements via our API daily.


How does it work? 

Synoptic works directly with both public and private data owners to aggregate geophysical data from hundreds of sources into a single database. We then make that data available to users for use in their day-to-day operations, scientific research, or the development of new and exciting applications.


How are the data delivered?

Synoptic delivers data using multiple widely-accepted formats, protocols, and tools. The most robust is our Mesonet API, which provides users with continuous, tailored access to all available data and metadata. Synoptic also offers streaming data services through our Alert and Push API as well as simple web downloads for more casual data users.


What data are available?

We currently aggregate data for over 120 parameters and 75,000 individual observing stations (both historical and real-time). Synoptic is designed to support data measured by any geophysical sensor anywhere in the world.  Our initial efforts have been focused on meteorological, oceanographic, and hydrological observations.  In the near future, we will be expanding the types and amounts of observation data collected, as well as beginning the handling and distribution of imagery.and model output datasets.


What are the benefits of using Synoptic?

Accessing needed data is often difficult, expensive, and time consuming. Decision makers and operators inherently understand the benefits of understanding the environment they work in.  Deploying your own sensors into often-hostile environments takes tremendous effort and expense.  Even accessing someone else's sensors is challenging and resource intensive, requiring independent data discovery, transmission, storage, and QC. That's the beauty of Synoptic - we discover, process, and serve the data for you, letting you focus on the data and its impact on your operations.


Pricing Related FAQs

What happens when my usage reaches the API free access limit?

If you have not provided a credit card (or some other arrangement) when your usage reaches the free access limit, the API will respond with a 402 (Payment Required) HTTP error, and no data. We will never charge you if you have not given us permission to do so. If you did give us a credit card, your usage will pass the free limit without any further confirmation, and you will begin to accrue charges. 

Other free services such as our Data Download Tool are available even if your API access has reached its monthly limit.


Am I able to set a limit on how much I spend?

Yes, we give you full control of your total monthly spending with our services. After you provide a credit card you can immediately set a limit on your total monthly spend. We will keep track of your real-time spending against all our services and stop serving you data (in the same manner as free access limits) when your monthly spend limit is reached. The limit you set is applied to your total bill from Synoptic, so it will include any taxes or fees. For this reason you cannot set a limit less than or equal to $5.00 (a $0 limit is allowed). 


What is the $5 monthly fee and how does it work?

If your data service usage is below our free access limits, you pay nothing. However, if you use more than the free access limits (by any metric) you will be charged a $5 fee for the month, in addition to any data service charges for data that is above the free access amount. As a result, if we charge you at all, it will never be less than $5.00 in a month. 


Why am I paying for public data?

Our charges are for the service of collecting, storing, organizing, analyzing, QC’ing and distributing data, not the data itself. We think having a single point of access for hundreds of different data providers and data types is a valuable service! Once we have delivered your data, you are free to use the data as you wish and it becomes as much your data as it is ours.


How can I estimate my monthly spending?

We have a calculator available to estimate average monthly costs on the pricing page of the Mesonet API developers site (click here). You can put in estimates of how much data you want and how frequently you will make requests.

There are some important assumptions that can affect your ultimate bill, so the best option is to review your usage regularly and make sure it aligns with your expectations. Unfortunately, the raw nature of our data means that the total amount of data received per request can vary. We have a guide to keeping your costs under control to help you minimize that risk.


Will I be able to get an invoice or receipt for any payments?

Yes. We generate an invoice before processing any charges. This invoice is made available to you. A receipt is created when a charge is made and will be emailed to you. Your invoices will be available from the billing tab on myaccount.synopticdata.com. 


Do you support alternative payment methods?

Only our pay-as-you-go automatic credit card payments and enterprise agreements are available as payment options. We do not support prepayments, invoicing, phone payments, checks or other payment instruments. We can accept most major credit card brands globally through our payment processor, Stripe. 


Do you have reduced or free usage provisions for non-profit, academic, or research applications?

You are always welcome to contact us and discuss your data needs.


Have any questions that weren’t answered above? Fill out the form below and let us know!