The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Basic Systems (CBS) Extraordinary Meeting Number VIII (1985) approved a general purpose, bit-oriented data exchange format, designated FM 92-VIII Ext. GRIB (GRIdded Binary). It is an efficient vehicle for transmitting large volumes of gridded data to automated centers over high-speed telecommunication lines using modern protocols. By packing information into the GRIB code, messages (or records - the terms are synonymous in this context) can be made more compact than character oriented bulletins, which will produce faster computer-to-computer transmissions. GRIB can equally well serve as a data storage format, generating the same efficiencies relative to information storage and retrieval devices.