A Flood of APIs Just Waiting to Happen
09 Sep 2011
Someone asked me about APIs dealing with water and utilities a couple weeks ago. So I dove in to see what I could find related to APIs for city, county and state water management.
First I came cross, what sees like a pretty good model for city water services with the Wellington NZ City Water Service Pipes. The Wellington Water Service API provides programmatic access to water and drainage data to assist in planning works that are in proximity to water and drainage infrastructure.
Next the Emery Water Conservancy District in central Utah provides sensor data from weather, canal, reservoir, pond and river monitoring sites via the MetriDyne API. The MetriDyne API provides immediate access to data from these sites, leading to better and timely information leads to better water management.
Then in Canada there is a pretty interesting initiative to create an open source web platform that will aggregate, federate, and connect water data and information enabling users to access, mashup, analyze, model and interpret water data, information, issues and opportunities, called the Water and Environmental Hub.
That was really it, when it came to water related APIs. They are all three really great models when it comes to looking at the future of water management using APIs. I would throw in another API i found from NASA called the MODAPS Web Services which provides an API to access the data products provided by the Level 1 and Atmosphere Archive and Distribution System (LAADS), providing programmatic access to atmosphere, weather and ocean data.
There are also some software solutions for water, energy and utility management that include APIs:
- ArcFM Solution Overview - maintenance of electric, gas, fiber optic, water and wastewater facility
- WaterObjects.NET - Gives you complete and programmatic access to Bentley’s water modeling technology, from numerical methods and water modeling capabilities to mapping, data management, and result presentation features
Beyond data and software for water management, there is the water, weather and environmental device and API company HoboLink, which has the HOBOlink® Web Services API, an API that enables anyone to easily integrate energy and environmental data from the comapny's devices. Think of the future here, with millions of devices tracking weather, water and our environment.
Although its not just environmental monitoring devices that foretell this flood of water management APIs. When you take a moment to look at the amount of water related data available on the web, there is a clear sign of the potential growth in need for water management APIs. Take a look at the California Department of Water Resources, Water Data Library. You can find datasets on water quality, groundwater levels and snow pack in near real-time or as historical data. You can query the data on their site, but there is no real API for pulling, parsing and crunching this data to build mobile and web applications and data visualizations.
Water is essential to not just the future of business, but humanity. The need to manage water in real-time is only going to grow, and there are tremendous opportunities for API deployment in this space when it comes to water and utility management at the city, county, state and federal level.