April 15, 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.
Cycling in the UK is not only a popular past time but and also a real commuting choice. The UK has numerous defined cycle routes and many towns and cities have designated cycling lanes and more recently London introduced a cycling scheme fondly referred to as Boris' Bikes after the current Mayor of London. Since more and more people are using a bicycle as a preferred method of transport, and with cyclists having a different selection of routes, on top of the ordinary street network, than alternative transportation methods, it makes sense for there to be a need for a bicycle journey planning web application and API.
Even though Alaska Airlines was one of the first airlines to offer an iPhone application, allowing travelers to check-in and use their phone as mobile boarding pass, early efforts were essentially just "screen-scraped" from the companies website, providing a very poor user experience, not really delivering on the process of the mobile web. Since you're a ProgrammableWeb reader, you can probably guess what the company needed. After all, mobile has fueled API growth.