RSS Guide

1. What is RSS?

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an alternative way to view the latest information released on the Bureau of Meteorology website. RSS can provide a quick summary of "what's new" for the Bureau's information. RSS can save you time by bringing to your desktop lists of the latest information (e.g. news items, bulletins and warnings) coming from your favourite websites, without having to visit each web page individually. When one of the feeds you subscribe to is updated, you will receive an alert on your desktop or mobile device.

2. Why is the Bureau of Meteorology providing RSS feeds?

RSS feeds do not replace other methods of accessing information, such as the web site and radio broadcasts. RSS feeds merely provide a new way to view existing Bureau of Meteorology information products and to know when new information has been issued by the Bureau.

Over time, more and more of the Bureau's time-critical information will be made available via RSS.

Some examples of why the Bureau provides RSS feeds are as follows:

  • Emergency Service organisations rely on Warnings issued by the Bureau for their area of interest. They require immediate alerts available on computers in the operations centre when warnings are issued or updated, and at the same time they need alerts and relevant information to be available on mobile devices for operations managers in the field. With this information they can more easily monitor whether upcoming events will affect their area and then to manage and prioritise their response to emergency situations.
  • As soon as Bureau Warnings are issued, Marine Radio announcements broadcast these to vessels to ensure safety at sea. Marine radio operators have previously relied on facsimile communications from the Bureau to alert them to a new warning. Ideally though they would prefer to have a web-based alert when a new Marine warning has been issued or updated. In this case, the Marine radio operators would subscribe only to Marine warnings via RSS and receive an alert on their computers or mobile devices immediately.

3. How do I use RSS feeds?

RSS content can be read by using software called an RSS reader or an aggregator. Once you have an RSS reader either:

  • right-click on the RSS link, copy the URL, and paste it into your favourite reader to display its content, or
  • drag the RSS icon into the address line within the reader.

    Screenshot with arrows pointing out RSS Link and RSS Icon elements.

There are three main methods used to access an RSS feed:

  1. Using an RSS reader installed on your computer

    Use a Desktop software tool (known as a reader or aggregator). Subscribe to a feed by entering the feed's URL link into the reader and choosing "subscribe to this feed". The feed properties should be set to update regularly.

    Screenshot showing an example of a desktop RSS reader.

  2. Using an RSS enabled web browser (e.g. Firefox, Internet Explorer)

    This can be as simple as clicking on one of the RSS icons. Different browsers handle RSS feeds in different ways. The feed properties should be set to update regularly.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Internet Explorer showing an RSS feed.

    In Internet Explorer the feed appears, however to subscribe to the feed press the "Subscribe to this feed" option.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Internet Explorer's RSS feed page with 'View Feed Properties' highlighted.

    Once a feed is subscribed to, the option to View feed properties appears.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Internet Explorer's Feed Properties window.

    Feed properties, such as Update Schedule, can be modified as necessary.

  3. Using a mobile phone based reader

    Mobile devices can be used to read RSS feeds by downloading an application designed for viewing such feeds. Some of these are available at no cost. Once the application is installed on the device, point to the Bureau's RSS feeds as explained above.

    Screenshots of an RSS reader on an iPhone.

Note: To find a free or inexpensive RSS reader search the web for "RSS newsreader". A list is available on Wikipedia - Comparison of feed aggregators.

4. What will I find on the feed?

The feeds contain the most recent information from the Bureau and links to the appropriate product or page on the Bureau's website. During the initial Beta Testing Period, all warnings which are current at the time the reader or browser checks the feed, will be available.

5. What is the format and content of the feed

Screenshot of Microsoft Internet Explorer's RSS feed page.

Each feed contains a description of what information is available within.

Each item of the feed contains:

  • a Title, which provides the link to the webpage with the actual information of interest.
  • the Date and Time the information was created or updated.
  • a Bureau of Meteorology logo also appears on the screen.

6. How do I subscribe to one or more feeds?

Once the feed is visible in the Web Browser, Reader or Mobile device application, a button or link should be visible to permanently subscribe to the feed. Simply follow the steps outlined in item 3 above.

7. How do I know when a feed has been updated?

The feed will have a date and time listed in the headline. With an RSS reader or aggregator, you can set a refresh rate (e.g. hourly, every 15 minutes, daily etc.)

8. How often will the feed update?

The feed will update as soon as the Bureau of Meteorology changes the content of the feed you are subscribed to. For warnings, this could be at any time.

9. I have other questions about RSS?

If you have other questions or wish to provide feedback on the RSS feeds available from the Bureau, please fill in the RSS feedback form and we will take note of your inputs.

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RSS Menu

  • RSS Catalogue
    Go to the Bureau of Meteorology's RSS Feeds page to access them

© Australian Government 2010, Bureau of Meteorology