Skip Navigation Linkweather.gov 
NOAA logo - Select to go to the NOAA homepage National Weather Service

 Headquarters Office NWS logo
NWS Office of the Chief Information Officer/Telecommunication Operations Center
 
.
Text Forecast
 
 
 
USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.

 
Using the National Weather Service FTP-MAIL Service
Retrieval of weather data & products using e-mail

Background

FTPmail is a system which makes use of the standard utility software called simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) available to users who may only have electronic mail (e-mail) access, such as, via INMARSAT connectivity between ships at sea and shore ground communication facilities. This FTPmail application reads a normal e-mail message content that is constructed with FTP commands. The process passes the commands to the FTP site process. The FTP process runs the commands and returns the results as a generated response. The Gateway e-mail application issues an automated e-mail reply back to the end user.

The National Weather Service (NWS) runs the FTPmail server application primarily for mariners who do not have direct access to the World Wide Web but they do have an e-mail system. This allows them to access our services and retrieve our products from the tgftp.nws.noaa.gov FTP server. Note - tgftp.nws.noaa.gov is the only valid FTP site for this service. By using FTPmail, a user can request text or graphic files from NWS and have the requested data automatically mailed back to them as either an attachment to or content of an e-mail message. The turnaround time is from thirty minutes to three hours normally, depending upon the path the e-mail takes.

To get started in using the NWS FTPMAIL service, follow these simple directions to obtain the FTPMAIL "help" file, or see: http://weather.noaa.gov/pub/fax/ftpmail.txt
 

Send an e-mail to: ftpmail@ftpmail.nws.noaa.gov
Subject line: Put anything you like
Body: help

Caution - Read the help file carefully - 99% of errors using FTPMAIL are simple typo's, incorrect capitalization, failure to send in plain text format, leading or trailing spaces, or failure to set up any spam filters properly.

FTPmail Examples

1. An example of a composed E-mail to get the latest zone forecast for Montgomery County, MD:

e-mail address : ftpmail@ftpmail.nws.noaa.gov
Subject line : anything
Message content :


open
cd data
cd forecasts
cd zone
cd md
get mdz009.txt
quit       

2. An example of a composed e-mail to get the current facsimile chart for Atlantic Ocean sea-state analysis would be:

e-mail address : ftpmail@ftpmail.nws.noaa.gov
Subject line : sea-state analysis
Message content for a TIFF version of a Chart :

open
cd fax
get PJAA99.TIF
quit

OR

Message content for a gif version of a Chart :


open
cd fax
get PJAA99.gif
quit     

NOTE : You have two choices of format for marine facsimile charts. Upper case and lower case alpha characters are used for the "TIFF" and "gif" versions of facsimile products, respectively. If you fail to use the right case, you will not get an attached product in your returned Email. Also, the "gif" version of the product will be a larger attached file than the "TIFF" version. However, the "TIFF" version requires a image viewer software application or browser plugin to manipulate and print the chart. These are only examples of the possibilities that can be requested.

Returned e-mail

Possible Status messages - You may get an e-mail status message back if the server is busy. The subject line will indicate that action is being taken upon your request.

EXAMPLE :
Subject: ftpmail job queueing for retry queue/01021045116.158296

This status informs you that the FTP server activity is heavy and you are queued in the process of the request. (This is an example and the numbers will change with each status.)

Returned e-mail content - The returned e-mail has a subject line containing the server address, path, and file name of the original request. Assuming the request was for the sea-analysis chart in example 2 above the resulting return e-mail would be.

EXAMPLE:
Subject: tgftp.nws.noaa.gov:/PJAA99.TIF uuencoded (get PJAA99.TIF)

The e-mail body content may contain the requested file or it may be attached for you to file and display by an appropriate software application. This example would have an attachment containg the product. Another example, if you were to select a "gif" it would be contained in the body of the e-mail as it is displayable by the e-mail system on your computer.

 

    US Dept of Commerce
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    National Weather Service
    Office of Operational Systems (OPS)
    1325 East West Highway
    Silver Spring, MD 20910
    Page Author: NWS Internet Services Team
Disclaimer
Information Quality
Credits
Glossary
Privacy Policy
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
About Us
Career Opportunities
     Page last Modified: 15 February, 2012 2:45 PM