June 6, 2017
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It's funny that when I talk to people in the travel industry about mashups and APIs, most of them get glazed looks in their eyes. Throw in terms like location based services or geospatial awareness and I've lost them. What most of them don't realize is that the majority of the travel apps that are starting to come out, both online and for mobile are mashups that are relying on location awareness and geospatial data. Many of them, like Pocketvillage are a consumer interface on top of a variety of APIs all normalized for a single homogenous user experience. That's right, it's essentially a metasearch tool that pulls in content from a variety of sources including Viator, GetYourGuide, TourCMS, Rezgo, AirBnB, and many others. What differentiates a metasearch like Pocketvillage from other metasearch applications however, is the fact that with location based services enabled, Pocketvillage can return content based on your current location. The issue right now however is that not all geo data is equal. Not all APIs provide geolocation information and some return it based on different criteria.
The recent experience of mapmaker RouteBuilder highlights one of the key issues that needs to be addressed when consuming APIs: how to manage the risk associated with an API becoming unavailable? Businesses consuming open APIs in their products need to take these risk management actions.