Weather has become a pretty hot topic, especially in technology circles. Weather has not only become a standard app found on nearly every smartphone and mobile device, but it's being used by many technology companies in new and innovative ways.
One of the more recent and popular technological uses of weather is to create weather-informed advertising. In June, the Weather Channel announced a partnership with Twitter to enable weather-informed advertising on the Twitter website and mobile applications. Advertisers will be able to create promoted tweets that target specific audiences based on weather data. A few months ago, Zappos, a popular Amazon.com-owned online shoe and clothing shop, partnered with ChoiceStream to deliver weather-based, personalized advertising to Zappos customers. ChoiceStream uses a weather forecast API to create advertisements that consider customers' local weather conditions in real time.
Another recent and increasingly popular trend is the crowdsourcing of weather-related applications and devices. Examples include:
- BloomSky — Described by the project as the "world's first smart weather camera," BloomSky is a weather probe that consumers can place in a yard or on a roof that captures hyperlocal weather conditions data. The goal of BloomSky is to build a crowdsourced meteorological network that provides real-time weather monitoring and weather data to consumers.
- CliMate — CliMate is a Bluetooth-enabled environment tracker that measures humidity, temperature and UVI. The data is synced to the consumer's smartphone, and each piece of data is used to power WeatherBook, a crowdsourced, real-time weather map.
- Metwit — Metwit is a crowdsourced API platform that provides local weather and environmental data to third-party applications. Metwit collects weather information from Twitter, Instagram, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other sources.
- Wezzoo — Wezzoo is a crowdsourced weather app available on Android and iOS. Users can share local weather observations and access real-time weather maps from around the world.
- Weathermob — Weathermob is a large community-based weather service that captures real-time weather data via mobile, social and meteorological data sources. Weathermob is only available on iOS.
- StormTag/WeatherSignal - StormTag and WeatherSignal are weather-based projects created by OpenSignal. StormTag is a Bluetooth weather station that attaches to a keychain. The weather data collected by the device is sent to the WeatherSignal app and OpenSignal servers.
BloomSky, CliMate and StormTag/WeatherSignal are not only crowdsourced but were all successfully funded via Kickstarter campaigns. At the time of this writing, there were more than 100 weather-related Kickstarter campaigns, many of which are in the technology and wearable categories.
The increasing prevalence of smartphones and mobile devices, along with the exponential rise of the Internet of Things, has helped fuel the interest in and popularity of crowdsourced weather applications and devices. All of these innovative weather-related devices and applications would not have been possible without the advent of APIs, specifically weather APIs.
This article features ProgrammableWeb's Top 10 Weather APIs, which have been selected based on a variety of metrics, including the number of PW followers, GitHub activity, Twitter activity and recent news. The APIs are listed in alphabetical order.
ProgrammableWeb's Top 10 Weather APIs
AccuWeather is one of the leading digital weather information providers. According to its website, AccuWeather provides weather forecasts for nearly 3 million locations worldwide, and over a billion people worldwide rely on AccuWeather every day.
The company has been working steadily toward broadening its audience as well as adding new weather-related products and services. Late last year, the company acquired Sky Motion, a developer of extreme short-term and highly localized weather forecasts. The acquisition of Sky Motion allowed AccuWeather to launch its MinuteCast feature, which was introduced earlier this year. In February, AccuWeather announced that it had partnered with Samsung to provide a preloaded weather app on the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. The company even has plans to launch the AccuWeather Channel, a 24/7 weather channel.
Developers can use the AccuWeather APITrack this API to add severe weather alerts, daily and hourly forecasts, current conditions, and other weather-related functions to their applications. No freemium is plan available; AccuWeather only offers paid plans. Developers interested in using the AccuWeather API can contact the company's sales department for pricing.
Australian Bureau of Meteorology
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is the government agency responsible for providing Australians with assistance in dealing with drought, floods, fires, storms and other harsh weather conditions. The agency also provides a variety of weather, climate and water data, including real-time observations, computer model forecasts and agricultural bulletins.
In March, the bureau launched the Weather Observation Website (WOW), a project created in partnership with the United Kingdom Met Office. The WOW Project is another example of weather crowdsourcing. Australian weather enthusiasts can share weather observations, photos and other information using the WOW website (the WOW website is free to use).
While the weather information on the bureau's website is freely available to visitors, there are subscription fees for some services, including weather data services using the Australian Bureau of Meteorology APITrack this API.
Forecast.io is a weather service built from scratch and created to power the Dark Sky Weather App for iPhone and iPad. In March 2013, Forecast.io was launched as its own separate weather service, and the Forecast APITrack this API was made available to developers so that they could incorporate Forecast.io weather data and functionality into third-party applications.
According to the website, thousands of developers have signed up to use the Forecast API. Applications and websites using Forecast.io weather data include DuckDuckGo, Saga app, Weather Line app and Dark Sky.
The Forecast API can be used to retrieve weather data, including current conditions, minute-by-minute forecasts, hour-by-hour forecasts and day-by-day forecasts for most locations worldwide. The API can be used for both noncommercial and commercial applications, and 1,000 API calls per day max are free of charge. There is a charge of $1 per 10,000 (that is, 0.01 cent) for API calls that exceed the 1,000 per day for free limit.
Founded in 1996, AerisWeather's mission is to "be the most dependable weather source in the country." The company provides detailed and comprehensive weather information, including local weather forecasts, extended forecasts and weather maps.
AerisWeather has been working steadily on expanding its product line, which includes Aeris Wear, Aeris Weather API, Aeris Weather Maps and Aeris Web. Aeris Wear was launched early last month and is an Aeris API-powered weather app featuring regional and local radar imagery and is optimized for Android Wear devices. There is both a free and Pro version of the Aeris Wear Android app, which also offers in-app purchases.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides programmatic access to comprehensive weather data sets via the NOAA National Weather Service APITrack this API. NOAA also provides programmatic access to climate data, geospatial information systems and data available from the Historical Observing Metadata Repository. These data sets are provided from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), which, according to the website, maintains the world's largest climate data archive, collecting data from land-based stations, ships, buoys, radars, satellites and more.
Developers can use the NOAA Climate Data Online API,Track this API a suite of climate APIs, to add weather and climate data to their applications. The API is free to use, but each access token is limited to "five requests per second and 1,000 requests per day." Developers who would like to increase the API rate limits should contact NOAA/NCDC customer support.
OpenWeatherMap provides free weather data for more than 200,000 cities accessible programmatically via the OpenWeatherMap API. The philosophy of OpenWeatherMap is based on OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia in that the company would like to "make weather information free and available for everybody."
In June, Pioneer Electronics announced the launch of AppRadioLIVE, a proprietary app designed for the connected-car experience that aggregates content from music, traffic, weather, news and other content sources. OpenWeatherMap is built into the AppRadioLIVE app, providing users with access to five-day weather forecasts when a route is set.
The OpenWeatherMap API can be used by developers to build third-party applications that utilize OpenWeatherMap weather data and functions such as current conditions, five- and 16-day forecasts, historical data, recent weather station data and weather map layers. The API is free to use; however, there are also paid plans available for developers that require higher levels of weather data and support.
The WeatherBug brand is developed by Earth Networks, a company operating vast global sensor networks that monitor weather, lightning, greenhouse gases, cameras and more to deliver real-time localized weather information, weather alerts and critical atmospheric intelligence. WeatherBug is one of the company's most popular services, providing millions of people with real-time weather forecasts and weather-related information.
Earth Networks and the WeatherBug brand have steadily increased their audience through the formation of strategic partnerships and by launching applications that feature the WeatherBug platform. In September, ProgrammableWeb reported that PeriShip had partnered with Earth Networks so that the company could use the WeatherBug Pulse API. PeriShip is using the API to get real-time weather to ensure that shipments of highly perishable goods are delivered effectively to their specified destinations.
The WeatherBug Pulse APITrack this API Data Feed Suite was launched in February and allows developers to incorporate real-time weather and lightning-detection networks data into third-party applications. At the time of this writing, there were only paid plans available, starting at $20 per month.
Weather Underground is a company with a mission to "make quality weather information available to every person on this planet." All of the forecasts provided by Weather Underground are generated from a proprietary forecasting system that uses neighborhood weather data gathered from the Weather Underground community. The company has a network of more than 37,000 personal weather stations, and that number continues to grow steadily.
In July 2012, The Weather Channel acquired Weather Underground, replacing the original Weather Channel API with a comprehensive weather API that allows third-party applications to utilize the many features of the Weather Underground platform. The Wunderground APITrack this API is one of the most popular weather APIs and is used in many third-party applications, such as Weather Kitty, which features a Grumpy Cat theme; Weather Puppy; the recently released WunderStation for iPad (an official Weather Underground App); and the many official Wunderground and Weather Channel mobile apps.
Wunderground API features include JSON and XML data formats, an AutoComplete API, WunderMap layers such as radar and satellite, and a variety of weather data features, including alerts, conditions, forecast, hourly and astronomy. Weather Underground has several paid plans available and offers developers a freemium plan with a limit of 500 calls per day and 10 calls per minute.
World Weather Online
World Weather Online provides weather information for about 3 million cities and towns worldwide. The company operates two high-tech weather data centers, one in Denmark and the other in Germany. The company also has team members working in the U.K., the United States and India.
Weather data can be accessed programmatically using the World Weather Online APITrack this API, a suite of APIs providing data for current conditions, historical weather, marine weather, ski and mountain weather, hourly and multiday forecasts, and much more. The Ski and Mountain Weather API was launched late last year and is useful for developers looking for information about ski-specific conditions.
The company offers a freemium API that includes current weather conditions; five-day weather forecast; one-day weather for marine, ski and mountain areas; and more. The premium API provides weather data dating back to July 2008, monthly climate average data, up to 15-day weather and much more.
Yahoo provides developers with a variety of APIs, including weather, search, Flickr, PlaceFinder, PlaceSpotter and Tumblr. The Yahoo Weather APITrack this API is actually powered by the Weather Channel, and returns basic weather information such as current conditions, current temperature and forecasts.
Yahoo has been working steadily on improving developer services and increasing its presence on mobile devices. Recently the company launched a new and improved Yahoo Developer Network website to make it easier for developers to find Yahoo products. Despite Yahoo's efforts, the company has suffered quite a few setbacks. Most recently, Apple dropped Yahoo as its preinstalled weather app in iOS 8, replacing it with the Weather Channel.
The Yahoo Weather API returns responses in either JSON or XML format and is free for personal, noncommercial, use.
For an in depth look in to several of these Weather APIs, check out this ProgrammableWeb article that highlights how they compare to one another.
More Weather APIs
- 5 Day Weather
- City of Tempe Local Weather
- CORDC HFRADAR Maps
- CDYNE Weather
- FAA Airport Service
- George Vustrey Weather
- Met Office WOW
- Metwit Weather and Forecast
- Mountain News OnTheSnow
- Norway Weather
- Previmeteo Weather
- RestFul Web Services Weather Forecast
- Tenki Weather
- United Nations SWERA
- Weather Central
- Weather Source