Friday, September 28, 2012

FlightStats Flex Weather API now Available in Beta


FlightStats Flex Weather API
Hot on the heels of the recent release of the FlightStats Flex Web Services APIs, the FlightStats team has added the Flex Weather API in beta for developers to explore. This product provides a rich perspective on current and future weather conditions affecting airports and flights, enabling developers' apps to provide maximum insight and utility.


FlightStats packages weather data in formats that are easy to use 

Standard international formats such as METAR and TAF provide these data in raw form, but were never designed to be convenient for machine processing. High variability, frequent irregularities, data entry errors, and lack of explicit structure pose significant barriers to data utilization. FlightStats has solved these challenges!  The Flex Weather API provides all the same data (and more), in a friendly and unambiguous structure.  FlightStats' standard complement of JSON, JSONP, XML, and SOAP are available as options for the developer to specify the preferred  format. With the Flex Weather API, developers can spend less time thinking about interpreting arcane formats and more time focusing on their users' needs.


FlightStats Weather API includes: METAR, TAF (Terminal Aerodrome/Area Forecast), and Zone Forecasts

  • METAR reports provide up-to-date information on current weather conditions at an airport; we enrich these reports with tag annotations identifying prevailing conditions and notable hazards that may impact aviation. 
 Our two forecast products, TAF and Zone Forecasts, are complementary in scope.
  • TAF provides a detailed forecast for the immediate vicinity of an airport, generally covering a 9 to 12 hour window (sometimes greater). 
  • Zone Forecasts provide longer-term and more geographically broad outlook via day-by-day forecasts generally stretching up to about a week in the future. 
The combined perspective of these three products, available with unprecedented ease-of-use, provide an information advantage you can use to stand out from the competition.

FlightStats wants your feedback:

As part of FlightStats' ongoing commitment to shape our products to developers needs, we will be keeping the Flex Weather API in a "beta" status for now, to afford you the opportunity to experiment with them and provide feedback. The Flex Weather API currently provides US-only weather data.  Please check out the interactive documentation  to see the details of this API, and share with us any feedback or suggestions on how the team at FlightStats can serve your needs even better.


Comparison to standard format:

Below you can see an example of a standard METAR response, compared against the JSON-formatted version of our structured response for the same report. Whereas the terse and ambiguous form of the original is suitable for trained human operators, our structured response removes all ambiguity and enables you to quickly consume the data with standard tools.


METAR:
KPDX 072253Z 10009KT 10SM CLR 34/06 A2999 RMK AO2 SLP154 T03440061

vs. our structured version of the same:

  "metar": {
    "report": "KPDX 072253Z 10009KT 10SM CLR 34/06 A2999 RMK AO2 SLP154 T03440061",
    "reportTime": "2012-09-07T22:53:00.000Z",
    "weatherStationIcao": "KPDX",
    "tags": [
      {
        "key": "Prevailing Conditions",
        "value": "Clear"
      },
      {
        "key": "Instrumentation",
        "value": "VFR"
      }
    ],
    "conditions": {
      "wind": {
        "direction": 100,
        "directionIsVariable": false,
        "speedKnots": "9.00"
      },
      "visibility": {
        "miles": "10.00",
        "lessThan": false,
        "cavok": false
      },
      "weatherConditions": [
        
      ],
      "skyConditions": [
        {
          "coverage": "Clear"
        }
      ],
      "pressureInchesHg": "29.99"
    },
    "temperatureCelsius": "34.40",
    "dewPointCelsius": "6.10",
    "runwayVisualRanges": [
      
    ],
    "obscurations": [
      
    ],
    "noSignificantChange": false
  }

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