The new interface for ECMWF real-time product configuration

Emma Pidduck, Krzysztof Ściubisz, Cristian Codorean


A new step in ECMWF’s product dissemination service has been released to the public to enable users to evaluate and configure their data requirements.

Product dissemination service

ECMWF currently provides real-time data to approximately 220 commercial and research users via its product dissemination service. Each user has their own bespoke data requirements that are delivered by the product dissemination system. The product dissemination system is comprised of four parts, each serving a different stage of the data purchasing process:

  • Product Requirements Catalogue (PRC) 
  • Product Requirements Editor (PREd)
  • Product Generation (PGEN)
  • Production Data Store (ECPDS)

Three components (PREd, PGEN and ECPDS) saw improvements implemented during 2019 and early 2020, as described in previous articles (Gougeon in Newsletter No. 159 and Zink & Plumridge in Newsletter No. 163). In June 2020, the first step of the product dissemination system, the Product Requirements Catalogue (PRC), was released to the public to enable users to evaluate and configure their data requirements. Previously the product requirements of each user had to be discussed with ECMWF or a Member State before any products could be made available, in many cases requiring back-and-forth revisions to quotes until the final configuration had been reached.

ECMWF’s product dissemination service.
ECMWF’s product dissemination service. Schematic illustrating how users interact with the product dissemination system, including the Product Requirements Catalogue (step 1) and the Product Requirements Editor (step 3). The web-based catalogue reflects the products available for dissemination and provides instant costs and volume estimations for the user’s chosen configuration. The agreed data is configured in the Product Requirements Editor. Finally, the Product Generation system uses the product requirements to generate user-tailored data.

Product Requirements Catalogue

The PRC provides a user-friendly interface to explore and evaluate the real-time products of the ECMWF catalogue, as well as to purchase licences to access the MARS Archive and ecCharts platforms.

The application aims to facilitate a self-service approach and provides many interactive features, such as enabling the user to search for parameters, filter for parameter availability by set and subset, and review the costs and estimated volumes of their bespoke configurations. The connection to the ECMWF parameter database provides parameter descriptions and units from a centralised and maintained database, which also provides relevant links to the Forecast User Guide. A registered user can also configure their own library of pre-set areas. This can be used during product configuration and will intuitively snap to the chosen grid resolution as required, ensuring the user can visualise and understand what will be received in the final delivery.

For ECMWF and the Member and Co-operating States, the PRC also provides a number of additional administrative features. These include provision of the user’s final data configuration in the language required for the PREd, folder sorting, and approval or rejection of user requests for licence management. Together, these features enable the user and the licensor to expedite the process between exploring the real-time catalogue, acquiring a licence for real-time or historical data, and subsequent delivery of or access to ECMWF data.

Over time, ECMWF will continue to modify and improve the PRC to further enable users and the licensor to simplify the licensing process. Future features will include the ability to amend licences mid-contract with a clear indication of costs incurred, as well as integration with the ECMWF licence reporting application for the licensor. As the product capabilities expand to support self-service, we envisage that more users will have access to the suite of tools to manage their own requirements.