Friday, December 21, 2012

FlightStats reflects on a busy 2012 and prepares to really take off in 2013



2012 was a busy year at FlightStats. We will conclude this year with 40% year-over-year growth in our data services business, we've grown our staff by 25% (we're currently hiring), and our plans to better serve the travel marketplace with data services and direct-to-consumer services have significantly evolved. 

Laying foundations for the future
Much of this year was spent on laying the foundation for future growth and services. We created a new developer center on the 3Scale Platform to make it easier for customers to use, offer more granularity in pricing, provide better tracking of services, and better documentation for developers. 

Upgraded Core APIs that offer the most complete data 
This year, in addition to providing the most complete international flight data, FlightStats completely revised the suite of APIs with the goal of making them easier to use. FlightStats incorporated features such as more robust positional information in the Flight Status and Track API, enhanced the data responses with UTC times, and upline/downline flights. We also embraced a RESTful interface by providing API responses in JSON and JSONP. In June we launched the beta and after getting great feedback, in August we released the production version of the FlightStats Flex APIs.

Partnerships to offer best available service
FlightStats has partnered with industry leaders to provide customers with the best in travel information and services. We've partnered with Innovata to provide global schedules data for the new FlightStats Flex Schedules/Connections API,  we've partnered with AirNav to supplement our global positional data used in our FlightStatus and Track API and we've partnered with masFlight to offer the best historical data and analytics.

Continuing Innovation
FlightStats is continually adding innovative features and APIs to its suite of web services. This year we've added the Weather API, packaging weather data in structured easy-to-use formatted versions of the standard METAR and TAF raw data formats. FlightStats has also added multilingual support for API responses, to support companies who support international travelers. Most recently, we've launched the beta for the Alerts API.

On the Horizon
In 2013 look for FlightStats to add to its suite of APIs with a new FIDS API and a configurable widget. Additionally, we will be adding more languages to our API responses, and we will be developing new data feeds among other data services. In 2013, FlightStats will also significantly enhance its direct-to-consumer offerings with new apps and new functionality. Stay tuned....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

GE's Flight Quest Challenge - Who will change the future of flight?

GE in partnership with Alaska Airlines has developed a challenge to make flights more efficient. Advancement in real-time big data analysis is changing the course of flight already.

Take the challenge and make the future of flying better. Watch the video and visit the Flight Quest site to learn more about how to participate.

FlightStats data is one of the sources being used to provide sample data sets for the challenge.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FlightStats New APIs now speak German and Japanese

Close on the announcement of incorporating Simplified Chinese in the FlightStats® Flex API responses. FlightStats has now added German and Japanese to its repertoire. The new Flex APIs can now deliver query results in any of four languages using the "extended options" feature - English, German, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese.

 FlightStats® Flex APIs deliver translated flight status responses and flight schedules data, along with airport names, countries, cities, and street addresses. Developers will be able to specify the language they prefer by simply appending a optional parameter to the query and will receive the translated response in their choice of XML or JSON.

All of FlightStats services follow the same pattern, so to request localization simply add the following optional parameter to the query: (no special parameters required for English)

German
&extendedOptions=languageCode:de






Japanese
&extendedOptions=languageCode:ja





Simplified Chinese
&extendedOptions=languageCode:zh








APIS SUPPORTING LOCALIZATION

APILocalized information
Airportsairport names, city names, street addresses, countries, districts, regions
Alertsairport names, city names, street addresses, countries, districts, regions, airline names, equipment names
Delay Indexairport names, city names, street addresses, countries, districts, regions
FlightStatusairport names, city names, street addresses, countries, districts, regions, airline names, equipment names
Ratingsairport names, city names, street addresses, countries, districts, regions, airline names
Schedules and Connectionsairport names, city names, street addresses, countries, districts, regions, airline names, equipment names
Weatherairport names, city names, street addresses, countries, districts, regions


Combining FlighStats superior flight coverage with the multilingual capabilities will give developers worldwide the tools to support global travelers. Developers can incorporate these services in their applications at the FlightStats Developer Center.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Announcing Beta of New Flight Segment Alerting APIs


Introducing FlightStats® Flex Flight Alerts Beta

FlightStats and Pathfinder-XML API customers have long used our Flight Monitor system to keep travelers abreast of travel turbulence. This December, we're delighted to announce that this popular product will get a significant makeover and join the FlightStats® Flex API family as FlightStats® Flex Flight Alerts. Visit the FlightStats Developer Center to test out new Alerts Beta.

If you are familiar with our existing Flight Segment Monitoring products, you'll find familiar functionality in the Flex version, but with a much improved interface that is consistent with the rest of the Flex APIs, including:

  • Easy-to-use REST services for creating and managing monitoring rules
  • Alert messages in JSON & XML flavors
  • Interactive API documentation for browsing and testing the APIs
  • Flex FlightStatus information with improvements that include:
    • Local & UTC times
    • Improved representation of status updates that are well-structured and programmatically accessible
    • Your choice of languages for the message (English, Simplified Chinese, German and Japanese currently supported)
    • Tight integration and compatibility with rest of the FlightStats® Flex product family
    • Comprehensive rule validation -we'll tell you whether or not we can detect the events you specify for a given flight
We have released a beta version of the FlightStats® Flex Flight Alerts API for you to use and evaluate without charge in reasonable quantities. A few weeks after we announce the production-ready version, we'll remove usage restrictions and begin charging. Pricing will be announced during the beta period.

Please have a look at the interactive documentation for the API and if you have a POST-able URL, feel free to create a few Alerting Rules.

How it works:

  1. Your software uses our API to create "Flight Alert Rule", specifying the flight segment (Ex. "American Airlines 100 from JFK to LHR on December 12th), the events you want us to monitor (Ex. 30 minutes before departure, departure, arrival, cancellation), and the URL where you want the flight alert delivered.
  2. FlightStats monitors the flight segment on your behalf, detecting timeline events and changes to the flight schedule.
  3. As events occur, FlightStats posts an alert message over HTTP to a URL of your choice. The message includes a description of the event that occurred and the current flight status data for the flight.
  4. Your system accepts the message and delivers an update to your traveler, keeping them prepared and informed for their journey.


What causes an Alert Message to be sent?

When you create an alerting rule, you can choose what events you want us to monitor. We monitor most of the status and time fields in our flight status data for changes. Some of the events for field changes can be parameterized so you will only be alerted of significant changes. For example, we can alert when the flight is more than 10 minutes late, but not less.

We also monitor for timeline events. Timeline events occur at times relative to real events and times during the life of the flight.

Examples of timeline events include:
  • 30 Minutes Before Departure
  • Departed Late
  • Departure Delay
Timeline events allow you to assist your travelers when they the need it most: the times before, in between, or after significant flight events.


What does the Alert Message look like?

We will post  the Alert Message over HTTP to any URL of your choosing. You can see the specifications and examples of the XML and JSON version in our documentation.


Rule Creation Examples


For any field change (the default), post a JSON message to http://mytravelapp.biz:

https://api.flightstats.com/flex/alerts/rest/v1/json/create/AS/534/from/SEA/departing/2012/10/22?deliverTo=http://mytravelapp.biz&type=json

For any field change as well as 50 minutes before departure and if the flight arrives more than 30 minutes late,  post a JSON message to http://mytravelapp.biz:

https://api.flightstats.com/flex/alerts/rest/v1/json/create/AS/534/from/SEA/departing/2012/10/22?deliverTo=http://mytravelapp.biz&type=json&events=all,preDep60,arrLate30