Interview with Chris Sloop of WeatherBug, A Brand of AWS Convergence Technologies
Managing a network of over 32 million users is not an easy task. Toss in the largest global weather network for both the consumer and professional with over 8,000 weather stations and cameras, and you’ve got a ton of data being shared. A company by the name of WeatherBug delivers those results to more than 12 million unique mobile device users and offer geo location based API’s to access that data.
I sat down with Chris Sloop, CTO of WeatherBug to discuss their relationship with Mashery and the use of their API, the use of their services within other applications and locations, and how their app synchronizes with weather locations for up to date information.
Company Name: WeatherBug
Name: Chris Sloop
Q: What is WeatherBug’s background?
WeatherBug, a brand of AWS Convergence Technologies Inc., manages and operates the largest global weather network and provides products and services for consumer and professional use.
WeatherBug provides its proprietary weather coverage to more than 32 million* users every month through its popular website and desktop application. As a leading digital property, WeatherBug consistently ranks as a top 10 News and Information site on the Web and a top six Web property overall in terms of average usage days per visitor. WeatherBug has emerged as a top mobile Web destination and application with more than 12 million monthly unique users and a strong presence across carriers including partnering with Verizon as the exclusive weather partner for several of its mobile entertainment and information services.
With a network of over 8,000 proprietary WeatherBug weather stations and cameras located at schools, major sports stadiums, broadcast stations and public safety facilities across North America, the WeatherBug Network has become the source for mission-critical weather information. WeatherBug integrates data from additional global sources, including the National Weather Service (NWS) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO), providing users access to the largest network of data from weather stations in the U.S. and over 45,000 locations around the world. The density of the WeatherBug Network ensures a high level of granularity and the ability to provide pertinent local current conditions, forecasts and potentially life-saving severe weather alerts.
WeatherBug initially developed its APIs in 2005 and has continued to enhance the available data. The API has been very successful with over 15,000 registered developers requesting usage of the information. As with any company, we are looking for automation efficiencies to deliver and track the use of our API for personal and professional development.
*July 2010, comScore
Q: Why did you select Mashery for your API needs?
WeatherBug has been in discussions with Mashery for the past several years and I have always been interested in their products. I have also evaluated several other API services and feel that Mashery has one of the strongest products. With the increased demand for our GEO-based APIs, we identified the need to outsource the access controls and tracking and turned to Mashery for their services.
Q: Did you look at other vendors? How/why did Mashery stand out against the others?
I evaluated several other vendors. The ease of implementation is the one component that really made Mashery the right fit for WeatherBug. With other vendors, there was a requirement for software to be installed on our servers which made it a more difficult implementation.
Q: Explain the API you developed with Mashery. What need is it addressing for the market?
WeatherBug has two new APIs that will be available through Mashery. With JSON becoming the preferred method for accessing data, we are offering the JSON equivalent of the XML-based feed we have always had available. Second, we have a new GEO-based API that enables the addition of radar, satellite and many other layers to Google or Bing maps. It is my understanding that this is the first time such an image/map API has been made available in an open API.
Q: What separates WeatherBug’s application(s) from what your competitors offer?
WeatherBug has unique data sets that are based on our proprietary network of over 8,000 live weather stations. For example, the WeatherBug radar utilizes real-time, location-based data from the WeatherBug Network to improve the accuracy of identifying rain/snow lines necessary for transportation-related operational and response decisions.
Q: What are WeatherBug’s future API plans? How will you continue to work with Mashery?
We are just beginning to learn all the capabilities that Mashery has to offer. We look forward to seeing how well our GEO and JSON APIs are received and will continue to make more information available as developers provide feedback on the data feeds they require.
Thank you very much Chris Sloop and WeatherBug for your time.
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