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The Most Important Things You Need to Know About Weather Data APIs

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People talk about the weather all the time. It’s available everywhere, within an app on your phone, in your car, obviously on the news and even in some home HVAC systems. But, when you need to incorporate weather information into your business processes, products, or to make critical decisions, how do you get it? A Weather data Application Programming Interface – API is the answer. When it comes to weather, there is no easier way to integrate weather information than the weather data API! These APIs are services that act as an intermediary or mechanism between two different and unrelated applications allowing them to communicate with a set of definitions and protocols.1 Best of all an API opens you up to a world of weather information spanning current conditions, historical information, forecasts, and predictive conditions for a wide offering of weather risks, hazards, and climate impacts on local, regional, and global scales. 

In this blog post, we'll be discussing weather data APIs and their various uses, as well as providing tips on how to use them most effectively for your organization. We will also cover the difference between freely available weather API where you can receive low value but freely available weather information versus more sophisticated weather models and information that can provide clarity and aid in better and more informed decision making. So read on to learn everything you need to know about weather data APIs.

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    What Weather Data APIs are Available and Why Would I Need Them?

    There are many different weather data APIs available, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Some of the most popular weather data APIs include the National Weather Service API, the Dark Sky API, and the Weather Underground API.

    Weather APIs are useful in that they can provide quick and easy access to a plethora of data products. For example, the Baron Weather API provides developers with access to data products such as:

    • The Baron Tornado Index
    • Radar data and imagery
    • Current and forecast road conditions
    • Satellite imagery from around the world
    • National Weather Service advisories
    • Flash Flood Risk

     

    Some common features of weather data APIs:

    • Everyday temperature and surface analysis data
    • Weather event tracking
    • Weather condition forecasting
    • Humidity
    • Wind direction and speed
    • Weather alerts and advisories

     

    Weather data APIs typically provide data for current conditions, forecast data, and historical data and are used by businesses that need to integrate weather information into their business processes for improved operations, risk assessment and safety. For example, an insurance carrier may use historical, current, and predictive weather information to assess risk on insuring a property or validating a claim. A transportation company may use a weather data API to integrate into their fleet management solutions to route vehicles around areas affected by severe weather. A flight-tracking firm integrates weather data into its flight planning software for pilots.

    1 https://aws.amazon.com/what-is/api/

    Terms to Know

    If you're planning on using a weather data API, you'll need to be familiar with some important terms. In this section, we'll list some of the most important terms you'll encounter when working with the weather data API. We hope this will help you to understand the concepts behind what the weather data API has to offer so you make informed decisions when choosing a provider.

     

    Historical Weather Archive

    Our API comes with a comprehensive catalog of accurate and location-specific historical weather data, which can be integrated into your existing platforms. The Weather Archive is a powerful tool for anyone wanting to access historical weather information to better understand current and future weather conditions, prepare a comprehensive plan, or compare models.

     

    AWS

    AWS, or Amazon Web Services, is a platform that provides cloud computing services. It lets you use a remote computer to access the resources of AWS without having to install any software. You can use AWS to run your own website, store your data, run your own business, and much more. For mission-critical delivery that scales on-demand, is reliable and secure, Baron uses AWS for providing weather data.

     

    SDK

    An SDK (software development kit) is a collection of tools, documentation, and code that can be used by developers to build and develop applications or to help them integrate the code into their own applications. An SDK can be either open-source or proprietary, but the two main types are mobile SDKs and desktop SDKs. 

    • Mobile SDKs are designed for developing applications for mobile platforms, such as iOS and Android
    • Desktop SDKs are designed for developing applications for desktop platforms, such as Windows and Mac.

     

    Mobile Toolkit

    The Baron Mobile Toolkit, a series of mobile SDKs, provides easy plug-and-play solutions for adding intelligent weather content to your existing applications.

     

    CDN

    A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a type of network that helps increase the speed and efficiency of delivering content to users. CDNs are typically used by large organizations to distribute content to a global audience, including things like website content, application files, and videos. CDNs help to reduce latency and provide faster access times by caching data on their servers. This makes it possible for users to load the files faster than if they were delivered directly from the source.

     

    RESTful architecture 

    This architecture is typically used when developing web applications, as it makes it easier to create and manage client-side interactions. It advocates using the Representational State Transfer (REST) protocol for distributed systems. It enables a system to handle requests and responses in a format that is easy for clients to understand and use. Clients can make requests using standard HTTP methods, such as GET, POST, and PUT, and the server will respond with the requested data in the same format. The focus is typically on the client (the user agent), not the server.

     

    Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Implementation

    Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international non-profit organization that helps to develop and standardize best practices for the sharing of spatial data. Serving data using standard protocols established by the OGC, such as Web Map Service (WMS) for map images, enables users to access maps from any web browser, regardless of the device they are using. The Baron GIS boasts a flexible and powerful mapping engine that can handle a wide range of mapping tasks. With this solution, organizations can quickly and easily create high-quality maps of their data.

     

    WMS

    Web Map Service (WMS) is a standard protocol created by the OGC to deliver map layers through the internet that can be displayed as map images to end-users. This OpenGIS service also allows images to be defined as transparent so that multiple images can be combined. 

     

    Visit https://www.ogc.org/standards/wms for official schemas and other related information.

     

    WFS

    WFS or Web Feature Service also follows the standard protocol established by the OGC and provides wind, lightning strikes, and other atmospheric data. WFS layers are easily and often added to other GIS software, like the Baron GIS to create powerful mapping engines.

     

    ArcGIS

    An Esri mapping product, ArcGIS provides licensing for location-based analytics. It allows you to better visualize your data, and share your data more seamlessly. As an Esri partner, Baron utilizes ArcGIS with our Weather API, allowing your developers to integrate all the weather information you need directly into your existing platforms.