Today in APIs: Foursquare Maps, Topsy in Russia and 21 New APIs

Adam DuVander
Feb. 29 2012, 02:18PM EST

Foursquare has embraced the open maps movement. Russia's biggest search engine integrates with the Topsy API. Plus: Disqus comments available in Gnip, Microsoft launches its own Webmaster Tools API and 21 new APIs.

Foursquare Bids Google Maps Adieu

Foursquare explains its OpenStreetMap-powered site:

We’ve been using the Google Maps API since the early days of foursquare. In the last six months, though, we’ve seen an increasing number of companies migrating to other options. So, during our January hackathon, one of our intrepid engineers wondered what the world would look like if we made our own maps. To do that, he used data from OpenStreetMap. (It’s a crowd-sourced global atlas, and it’s kind of amazing! It’s like Wikipedia for geography.) We love the idea of open data, and were happy to try it out.

When we initially began looking around for other map providers, we found some incredibly strong alternatives. And while the new Google Maps API pricing was the reason we initially started looking into other solutions, we ultimately ended up switching because, after all our research and testing, OpenStreetMap and MapBox was simply the best fit for us.

Via Alan Palazzolo and Thea Clay

Yandex Chooses Topsy for Social Results

The press release quotes Yandex's Ilya Segalovich:

"With the continued explosive growth of data from the social web, the ability to integrate fresh relevant results from the social web into search is critical. Topsy is one of a few technology companies capable of indexing and ranking the massive amount of real-time information being generated from the social web."

Though not yet a household name outside of Russia, we list 10 Yandex APIs.

API News You Shouldn't Miss

21 New APIs

Today we had 21 new APIs added to our API directory including a business intelligence reporting service, Houston electricity usage data service, Chicago transit status and event reporting service, Russian business project management service, online marketplace for live events, postcard and photo printing application and order fulfillment and shipping service. Below is more details on each of these new APIs.

BIRT onDemandBIRT onDemand API: The service provides an open-source, web-hosted business activity reporting tool. It is intended to render graphs and reports on business performance based on complex data with a simple user experience. The reporting tools integrate analytical dashboards and interactive reports into a comprehensive web interface.

API methods support management of user accounts including creation of and user assignment to role groups and event notification groups. Methods also support configuring and implementing the reporting services.

Center for Biological Sequence AnalysisCenter for Biological Sequence Analysis API: The Center for Biological Sequence Analysis offers a collection of SOAP-based APIs for working with nucleotide sequences, amino acid sequences, and small molecules. The nucleotide sequence APIs visualize and analyze genomes, as well as find specific genes and splice sites within a genome. The amino acid APIs assess post-translational modifications to proteins, identify immunological features of proteins, and determine protein structure and function. The small molecule API helps determine the cardiotoxicology of drug molecules. Each of these APIs has its own WSDL endpoint.

CenterPoint Energy Usage History InquiryCenterPoint Energy Usage History Inquiry API: The Houston, Texas energy utility provides electricity service to more than 2 million customers. Its usage history service gives automated access to customer billing history and electricity usage as measured by interval data recorder (IDR). It is intended to encourage involvement by third-party information providers who have customer permission to access electricity usage information.

API methods support contact and validation of the third-party system's information access, along with provider account management. Methods also allow retrieval of usage history for the account specified in the request by the validated application.

CTA AlertsCTA Alerts API: The service, a companion to the CTA Bus Tracker, gives access to alerts from transitchicago.com highlighting service disruptions and other events that might affect transit service in Chicago. Alerts distribute information about system status, route changes, and news from RSS feeds, ranked by potential to affect transit services and categorized by routes and stations affected.

API methods support submission of requests by service category (bus, train, systemwide, etc.), route, and station. Responses include a time-date stamp, route status message and color-coded indicator, plus specific alert content for notifications matching the request parameters. Detailed alert content specifies affect on handicap-accessible service, if appropriate, and whether the system affect results from planned maintenance.

DegreeDaysDegreeDays API: The service provides weather reports from thousands of weather stations drawn from Weather Underground but emphasizing likely effects on energy consumption. Data can be obtained by station or by location for a range of time periods -- daily, weekly, monthly, and annual -- with averages over time. Concurrent processing allows rapid access to comprehensive data.

API methods support retrieval of weather data by reporting station or by location, specified as postal code or latitude/longitude. Complex calculations allow the API to return accurate degree days estimates based on sometimes-incomplete raw input data.

Duplicated Genes DatabaseDuplicated Genes Database API: The Duplicated Genes Database (DGD) provides a list of co-located and duplicated genes. These genes may be either tandem repeats or members of the same multigene family. Lists of duplicated genes can be used to analyze the expression of genes from microarray profiling experiments, to characterize the genomic content of a specific chromosomal region, or to study the duplication status of a specific gene or group of genes.

The SOAP-based DGD API can only use Ensembl gene IDs as input data and does not allow the retrieval of cross-references in the output file.

EnergyStar ABSEnergyStar ABS API: The free web service from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promotes sharing of data on energy use and facility energy-consumption information. It interacts with EPA's Portfolio Manager software tool to help applications provide energy and building data as part of the Energy Star energy performance rating. This benchmarking supports development of environmental performance metrics.

API methods support management of Energy Star rating status, updating of building and energy meter information, and retrieval of benchmarking data for local comparisons. Methods also support management of ABS program user account information.

iRefIndexiRefIndex API: The iRefIndex APIs - PSICQUIC and PSISCORE - provide programmatic access to iRefIndex data on protein interactions as well as many other interaction databases. These APIs allow users to query one database website and then have that query replicated at all other databases that have implemented the APIs. The user then receives a compiled list of results matching their query regardless of the database that contains the information. The iRefIndex APIs are available via SOAP or REST protocols.

National Renewable Energy LabNational Renewable Energy Lab API: The service provides access to authoritative information on uses of alternative energy technologies from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It provides energy usage and rate data to enable development of renewable energy installations and use of alternative fuels. Resources emphasize electricity generation, solar-power installations in general, and transportation solutions.

API methods support access to utilities serving specific locations and electricity rates charged, energy generation and cost savings from photovoltaic (PV) energy systems, and locations of alternative fuel stations.

OppsPlaceOppsPlace API: The service provides job-seeking and networking resources targeted to members of minority groups and minority-owned businesses looking for expanded opportunities working with U.S. corporations. It aggregates rich content like advice columns and background information with employment listings and request for bid announcements.

API methods support direct creation and editing of job postings by corporate affiliates. Methods also support additions and updates to contract opportunities listed. Request data can specify job title and description, location, industry, functional category, compensation range, travel requirements, language skills required, and extensive additional detail.

Product Life Cycle SupportProduct Life Cycle Support API: Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS) is a standard for creating and managing an Assured set of Product and Support Information (APSI), which can be used to specify and control required support activities throughout the life of a complex product. PLCS provides an application-specific, but flexible, information model, which can be tailored through the use of Reference Data Libraries. The Product Life Cycle Support API provides SOAP-based, programmatic access to PLCS functions.

PROMOparkPROMOpark API: PROMOpark is a Russian service for business process facilitation. It helps manage projects, automate routine processes, and extract important information from data sets. The PROMOpark API provides SOAP-based access to PROMOpark's project management functions.

The website and all documentation is in Russian. However, the SOAP methods are given in English.

SeatwaveSeatwave API: Seatwave is an online platform to buy and sell tickets for live events, such as concerts, sports, and theater.

The Seatwave API is available in two profiles: Discovery API and Purchase API.

The Seatwave Discovery API works for affiliate partners who are looking to build integrated applications, sites and widgets to present tickets to their users.

The Seatwave Purchase API works for e-commerce, travel, and ticketing companies that have a development team and are looking to add white label ticketing functionality to their sites.

SincerelySincerely API: Sincerely provides applications for users to send other people postcards, photos, and greeting cards in a physical product from their mobile phone.

The Sincerely API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality behind Sincerely with other applications. With Sincerely integration, developers can add photo printing and postcard functionality to their applications. Public documentation is not available; interested developers should sign up here http://dev.sincerely.com/signup.

SLiMFinderSLiMFinder API: SLiMFinder is a tool for finding shared motifs in proteins with common attributes such as sub-cellular location or interaction partner. A motif is a pattern found in biological sequences that is believed to have special significance. Thus, SLiMFinder may be used to help identify the amino acid patterns responsible for certain protein behaviors or interactions. The SLiMFinder API provides access to this function via SOAP protocols.

SmartEnergySmartEnergy API: The service works with a SEGmeter sensor connected to an electrical panel to detect the energy flow. It then compiles readings into summarized information, supported by graphical visualizations. The information inputs enable control of utility use and cost, potentially lowering electrical bills and encouraging conservation.

API methods support collecting and managing streams of energy flow data by source of demand between start and end dates. Methods deliver cost and carbon footprint by day and at a point in time.

SolvingMazeSolvingMaze API: The service supports management of collections of products for a warehouse to support efficient shipping and fulfill customer orders. It is designed to work in concert with an e-commerce shopping cart in a way that streamlines packing and shipping, collects shipments into economical flat-rate loads, and accurately forecasts shipping rates.

API methods upload products to a catalog for a specific warehouse and calculate shipping rates. Products are described by item number, name, price, weight and dimensions, and stocking status such as perishability and ability to combine into bulk shipments.

The SEEDThe SEED API: The SEED is a database for annotated genomic information. It was started in 2003 by the Fellowship for Interpretation of Genomes. Other institutions, such as Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago, have since joined the project. The cooperative effort focuses on the development of a comparative genomics environment and, more importantly, on the development of curated genomic data. The SEED API provides users with SOAP-based access to the contents of the SEED database.

USGS WaterservicesUSGS Waterservices API: The service provides instantaneous, daily, and summary data for water supply and water quality. Data provided are collected from a network of U.S. Geological Service reporting stations and provided in aggregate or at a point in time. A notification system distributes alerts based on data collected.

API methods support designation of reporting station location by state and county as well as location type. Results are defined by highly detailed characteristics such as watershed size and location, aquifer type, sampling methods, and well characteristics.

Webservice-EnergyWebservice-Energy API: The service, developed through the EU-funded MESoR project, provides data and applications to encourage uses and management of renewable energy resources. It provides information about applications of solar and wind energy, along with forecasts of effectiveness over a system's life cycle. Its goal is to link users to information and encourage sharing and interaction around energy conservation.

API methods support estimation by location of solar irradience and shadow effects from several different sources. Methods also forecast availability of hydro power resources and weather events with likely effects on renewable energy use.

ZipmarkZipmark API: Zipmark is an online and mobile application that allows users to pay for things out of their accounts automatically. Users can pay for things such as rent, other bills, and other Zipmark users.

The Zipmark API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of Zipmark with other applications and to create new applications. Public documentation is not available; interested developers should sign up here http://dev.zipmark.com/ for more information.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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