The Latest News On The API Economy
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Chart APIs are useful and popular, and Google knows how to do them well, so they're continuously adding more features and options for customization to their Visualization API. The Google Code Blog recently highlighted a few of the newest features.
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.
Google has just announced that its Visualization API now supports server-side data requests, such as in SQL databases and Excel spreadsheets. In essence, the API now supports an "open-wire" protocol that allows individuals and organizations to create visualizations directly from data on a server.
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).
Dipity is an innovative web service that lets users create interactive multimedia timelines for anything from breaking news to Internet Memes. But the real action is behind the scenes with their extensive web service, which allows third parties to build and manage timelines programmatically (our Dipity API profile).
Swivel, along with its cousin IBM Research's Many Eyes, is helping make sharing, visualizing, and discussing data on the web fun and addictive. How? Take, for example, the following Swivel-hosted graph, which shows the Growth of Creative Commons Photos on Flickr to millions of photos.
Can we exploit the extraordinary ability that humans have to read faces to make sense of abstract data -- by rendering data as concrete facial features? That's a question raised by a recent ProgrammableWeb Mashup of the Day Pubmed Faceoff.
As reported by the BBC, the UK government has established a task force, aptly named the Power of Information Task Force, to lead a massive data sharing effort. The task force was established in March of this year by Cabinet Office Minister Tom Watson with the goal of fostering social and economic progress by enabling widespread access to government data.
Google recently announced the new Google Earth Browser Plug-in, which brings the rich mapping and interactivity of the Google Earth application directly into the web browser, "bringing the full power of Google Earth to the web, embeddable within your own we site."
If you want to see in realtime what's going on Digg you can use their digg spy page. This popular Digg feature uses a dynamic Ajax UI to let you see diggs as they happen. And now it serves as a model for a growing number of mashups that use web APIs to give you a realtime window into activity on a variety of services.