Using Weather Data in the Legal Profession

Lawyers, paralegals, and other members of the legal profession often need high-quality weather data to help them better understand and prove their cases. However, the requirements for this data are often somewhat different than in other weather data use cases. Unlike other data users who often need a large amount of data representing a broad range of locations and dates, legal users often need data for a very specific time window at a single location. This time window is often measured in hours or even minutes.

The location is also often very restricted to a specific location such as a road or a property address. Getting data as close as possible to that specific location is critical. Given the importance of the tight timeframe and location parameters, it can be important to vet the resulting weather data carefully against nearby locations and times to validate the accuracy and consistency of the data.

In addition, the data format is often important as well. In some cases, the data may be needed in a format that can be easily analyzed in common tools such as Excel. In other cases, the data may be needed in a presentation-ready format that can be included a part of a legal analysis or brief.

In this article we will discuss these key components of weather data and how to achieve them easily and cost-effectively using Visual Crossing Weather.

Data for very specific locations and times

In weather data usage, data for a very specific location is known as hyperlocal, and data for very specific times is known as sub-hourly. Often one or both of these data features are important to a legal evidence.

Visual Crossing Weather is able to fulfill both of these requirement easily. For very specific locations, hyperlocal weather is able to pinpoint the best weather station(s) for any global location from a station pool of more than 100,000. As input you can supply either an address or an exact latitude, longitude pair. By specifying an exact point via latitude and longitude, you select a very specific location such as an exact curve on a road, a specific parking lot in a complex, or a specific field on a farm. In more dense areas, a weather station may be position close enough to provide very accurate weather data. In other cases, one or more nearby stations can be interpolated to find a optimal result. Of course, the final weather data report will show the exact station(s) from which the weather data was collected. So you are always aware of and in control of the exact data provenance.

The same is true for weather data at an exact time. Many stations in the Visual Crossing Weather database report data every few minutes. This allows a query to find data at a very exact time in many areas. This sub-hourly data can be used to determine, for example, if it was raining during a specific 15-minute accident window or if wind was strong enough to cause damage during the height of a storm. Of course, data is also available at the hourly and daily level as well as over longer summary periods.

Cross-checked weather data

Even the best weather data is subject to various minor issues in collecting and reporting. In some cases, a specific reporting station will go down for maintenance and stop reporting data for a few hours or even a few days. In other cases, stations fail to report certain weather metrics (such as wind, precipitation, cloud cover, etc.) or give a spurious value.

Visual Crossing Weather solves these types of problems in two ways. First, when the weather records are first loading into the weather database, they are compared against other near-by weather reports as well as reasonable maximum and minimum values. This allows the system to automatically discard obviously erroneous data. However, more subtle issues can only be seen by doing a manual data review. To achieve this, an expert manually reviews the specific reports for the time and location requested. He or she then compares these reports to reports from nearby stations and other data sources to verify that the data being reported is as accurate as possible. This manual review is an optional service, but one that can be very useful to ensure optional accuracy.

Data for analysis and data for presentation

There are two main uses for weather data in the legal arena. One use is analysis. This is the case when you need data for a range of times and/or locations to find patterns and check for specific conditions over time. You can do this analysis in a range of tools from Excel to custom data science applications. The other use in presentations. This is the case when you want to make specific data records available as part of a report or brief or presentation.

Weather data for analysis is the standard use of Visual Crossing Weather. All data is available as an Excel file download or as CSV file. Excel format data can be directly loaded into Excel and many other standard analysis tools. CSV format is even more universal and can be loaded into nearly any analysis application or data science tool. Once the data is loaded, it is immediately available for immediate analysis by your or your own weather expert.

Weather data for presentation is a less common application in general, but can be very important in certain legal circumstances. Visual Crossing Weather offers data in PDF formats and on letterhead including a full description of the weather conditions and can include any details that are important to your case. For presentation data, we can work with you to ensure that the data is available exactly how you need it and in a way that fits well with your other briefing content.

Custom help is always available

At Visual Crossing Weather we not only make huge quantities of weather data available at a low cost, we work hard to make sure that it is accessible for specific use cases and users. You don’t need to be a weather guru or a data analysis expert to get the weather data that you need. Our experts will work with you to understand your specific needs and offer the exact solutions that you need. You can choose from our standard à la carte service options or we can put together a proposal that is custom to your exact needs.

The process starts with a introductory email or a phone call, whichever is most convenient for you. We can schedule a time where our weather expert can discuss your specific needs. Depending upon your time and the skills of your team, we are available to do as much of the work as you wish or simply provide you with raw data and advise. And our experts are always ready to answer questions and work with you whenever the need arises throughout your project.

To get started, please review our standard menu of weather data options and then reach out to us at info@visualcrossing.com. An expert will reply quickly to get the process started and get you the weather data you need.

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