The Latest News On The API Economy
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A new bicycle wheel prototype is connecting the non-technical, everyday world to the Web. The Copenhagen Wheel attaches to an ordinary bike and helps its owner collect fitness and location data. From an iPhone, the rider can also see traffic and polution information and share their own data with friends. This real world mashup is one of many we're bound to start seeing released as we make our move toward living in the future.
Imagine if you could peek into your users' checking accounts and see what they earn. In a way, you can. A creative new API from big data trailblazer InfoChimps uses IP geolocation to return U.S. Census data, including annual income. There are also updates to the company's Twitter influence and trust data APIs.
The internet is the perfect medium for matching supply with demand. You can find your next freelance job or, as Craigslist has been singled out for, find just about anything else (if you know the right euphemisms). Now, with Data Marketplace, you can request or provide datasets covering anything you can think of.
Once the largest transit agency without open data, New York City's MTA embraced developers by making its data feed available to all. Now it's going a step further by organizing an unconference for developers. Further, the event will be hosted at the New York offices of Google, a long supporter of open transit data.
Have you had to pick someone up from the airport only to end-up doing several laps of the airport because the flight was late? This sort of setback due to arrival delays is one of those modern day inconveniences that FlightCaster and their FlightCaster API hope to eliminate.
Google has released a new API for Fusion Tables, a Google Labs app that allows users to import, integrate, analyze, and visualize data in a variety of ways. The new API allows developers to programmatically perform a variety of tasks, including data import and export (more at our Google Fusion Tables API Profile). The API itself is integrated with several other Google APIs, including the Google Maps API and the Google Visualization API. In fact, developers can also leverage App Engine to easily develop data processing and analysis apps that easily integrate with various other Google APIs.
Structured data has an open platform, thanks to a new startup aptly named Factual. At first glance, it seems like Excel on the web. However, Factual is more database-oriented, with joining and filtering built-in. Plus, sharing and discussing the data is an integral part of the experience. Most functions on the site, including both reading and writing data, can also happen via the Factual API.
The travel site Orbitz has partnered with Google to show a virtual walking tour of the neighborhood around a hotel. You and I know it as the Street View API, part of Google Maps (our Google Maps API profile).
When Google announced its Maps Data API (our Google Maps API profile), it provided programmatic access to the features available in the Google My Maps product. With it, developers can create, organize and update maps. Could it also replace a database for holding geographic points?
Spatial data provider Maponics has released a new API that provides developers with access to several boundary data sets. Previously available as a beta release in February, the Maponics Spatial API (our Maponics API profile) provides access to carrier route, ZIP Code and neighborhood data for the United States.
In big news on the government data and transparency front, the premier provider of federal campaign finance information, Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), have announced they are opening for bulk download 20 years worth of data used to power their web site OpenSecrets.org. More than 200 million records are being made available of itemized contributions, campaign spending, lobbying, personal finance, and sponsored travel. CRP began tracking campaign contributions in the late 1980s. Their stats and staff are trusted and quoted by the Media as the gold standard reference.
Developer Richard Brundritt has created a new Flight Simulator plugin for Microsoft Virtual Earth (our Virtual Earth API profile) that uses the VE3D map control to provide a very cool user experience.By leveraging the 3D API, Richard has managed to create the first flight simulation experience
Chicago commuters just got a new resource that may lead to more helpful mashups: the Chicago Transit Authority Bus Tracker API. As recently announced, the API provides capability for developers to get bus routes and schedules, bus stop and arrival predictions, and more. Note that the API is not affiliated with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA); rather, it was developed and is maintained by Harper Reed, who says the CTA has been "amazingly cool with all of this." In announcing the API, Harper wrote:
Earlier this week Microsoft announced that it is making some of the imagery used in its Virtual Earth platform available for purchase (more on Virtual Earth in our VE SDK profile). The imagery, taken with Microsoft's proprietary UltraCam shown below is available for approximately 200 cities (in high resolution and averaging less than two years old).