Archive for the ‘api’ Category
Since introducing the Stormpulse API in July 2008, our tracking map has been embedded in over 1,000 websites and viewed tens of millions of times. We’d like to thank you if you’ve been a part of our free API program, to which we owe much of the credit for getting Stormpulse into the hands of the site’s fans.
Since that time, we’ve added more features and made Stormpulse into a more reliable service for thousands of businesses and emergency operations personnel worldwide. Maintaining the reliability of our website and API service is central to being useful during critical times, as our customers have grown to depend on us for the best visualizations of storm data on the web.
It’s become apparent during the first half of the 2010 hurricane season that we cannot maintain the reliability of our service while continuing to provide a free, unlimited traffic version of our embeddable maps. The immense number of requests to our free maps places a significant strain on the service for everyone.
As such, we are discontinuing the unlimited traffic aspect of the free API. Beginning Monday, September 6th (Labor Day), all sites using the free version of our maps will be limited to 50,000 requests per month. Once this limit is reached, your API key may be deactivated for the rest of the calendar month.
Those that expect higher traffic are encouraged to sign up for Stormpulse Maps Pro, which allows for unlimited traffic on a pay-per-use basis.
Thanks for your feedback as we transition into this new phase of Stormpulse.
Since we launched Stormpulse Pro last November, we’ve received a steady flow of requests for these premium features to become available on our affiliate/Stormpulse API maps. In response to this demand, we’ve launched Stormpulse Maps Pro. (NOTE: If you’ve already got a Stormpulse account (free or Pro), you’ll need to sign out of that account before you can sign up for Stormpulse Maps).
These premium maps accounts take our free maps to the next level by offering:
- New! Gulf oil spill. Engage your visitors with the only interactive weather maps on the web with detailed plotting of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site and 24-hour forecast from the NOAA updated daily. You can check out this feature on our maps at Stormpulse.com.
- No upsells or advertising. To help ensure your audience stays on your site, ads and upgrade links are never displayed on a premium affiliate map.
- Super-resolution radar loops. Bright colors and fine-grained details draw your visitor’s attention to the most important features of each storm. Powered by “Level 2” data from the National Weather Service, this is the highest resolution radar available on the web.
- Tropical watches and warnings. Inform your audience of the threat to coastal areas as the storm approaches land.
Keep the requests coming …
NOTE: This functionality is available to all API users until June 1, 2010. On June 1, 2010, certain restrictions may apply to API users embedding the map on media (mass audience) sites and API users embedding the map on corporate intranet portals.
Just another small step towards opening up our maps to the rest of the world. We look forward to adding new functions, objects, and data sets to the library.
If you would like to sign up for an API key (free), you should go to this page on our site.
This afternoon we launched a new feature on the site that should help answer the question of ‘when can I expect winds in my area?’
The National Hurricane Center publishes a product called “Wind Speed Probabilities” in sync with their Forecast Advisories that provide percentages indicating when a storm’s winds are most likely to affect a particular area. This information is presented in a tabular format like so:
- - - - WIND SPEED PROBABILITIES FOR SELECTED LOCATIONS - - - - FROM FROM FROM FROM FROM FROM FROM TIME 18Z FRI 06Z SAT 18Z SAT 06Z SUN 18Z SUN 18Z MON 18Z TUE PERIODS TO TO TO TO TO TO TO 06Z SAT 18Z SAT 06Z SUN 18Z SUN 18Z MON 18Z TUE 18Z WED FORECAST HOUR (12) (24) (36) (48) (72) (96) (120) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - MOBILE AL 34 X 1( 1) 9(10) 8(18) 5(23) 2(25) 1(26) MOBILE AL 50 X X( X) 2( 2) 2( 4) 1( 5) X( 5) 1( 6) MOBILE AL 64 X X( X) X( X) 1( 1) X( 1) 1( 2) X( 2)
We here at Stormpulse believe this is great information of great value, but the presentation is too complex and non-visual. So we are capturing, storing, and representing it directly on the map, in the form of bar charts and a reduced table with familiar dates and times.
To access this information, click “Wind Probabilities” ‘On’ using the the layers menu in the top-right corner of the map. After a small delay (as data is retrieved from our server), you should see a small multitude of blue boxes appear, with small white, yellow, and orange bars inside.
These miniature bar charts provide a quick glance of wind probabilities for the storm. Clicking on the bar chart will expose a details box that shows the bar chart in a large format, along with up to three buttons labeled ‘CHANCE BY DAY’. The bar chart shows you the overall likelihood that the location will experience tropical storm, storm, or hurricane force winds. Hovering over ‘CHANCE BY DAY’ will show you the chance of a particular wind force distributed over the next 5 days of the storm’s travel.
Here we see that Mobile, Alabama has, as of Tropical Storm Fay Advisory 29A, a 26% chance of experiencing tropical storm force winds in the next 5 days. Hovering over the top ‘CHANCE BY DAY’ button reveals the table at the right, which tells us that Sunday at 5 AM is the most likely time for the onset of these winds. However, just as you should not focus on the center line of the forecast cone, it is wise to look at the overall distribution of these percentages. There is still a 1% chance that the winds will come the night before (Saturday at 5 PM).
We hope you enjoy the extra insight provided by this information. We still have a few tweaks to make to this feature, we would appreciate any feedback or questions you may have. Those of you that are embedding our tracking map on your own site using the Stormpulse API do not need to do anything to take advantage of this new feature. It will appear on the map automatically.
This morning we rolled out a buoys feature that we were forced to remove before our initial launch but have been able to bring back (just in time for a new hurricane?). The dataset is sourced from the NOAA’s National Buoy Data Center.
To access the feature, click ‘More’ in the top-right Layers menu to expose the ‘Ocean Buoys’ option. Clicking ‘On’ will retrieve the latest weather reports from all over the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean, and place them on the map in the form of blue boxes and red boxes. Blue boxes represent sea-based observations, while red boxes represent land-based observations. Clicking one of these boxes will bring up details in a ‘dock’ near the bottom of the map.
We can see that thanks to the high-potential disturbance off the coast of Puerto Rico this morning, NOMAD Buoy 41043 (seen here as the blue box in the northeast quadrant of the disturbance) has recorded wind gusts of 31 mph:
These observations update once every few hours, assuming all of the communication between that little object in the vast blue ocean and our servers works properly.
Since our last release, we’ve also fixed a bug such that the entire description for a tropical disturbance can now be seen–just click ‘More…’ in the description box at the bottom of the map when a disturbance is highlighted.
We’ve also added a small feature that will show you the population of a city if you click the label on the map.
Users of the Stormpulse API do not need to do anything to take advantage of these enhancements. They should already be visible to you and your web visitors.
For the last few months, we’ve been guilty of not eating our own dog food. Yes, we admit it, we’ve been visiting the NHC’s Graphical Outlook. Numerous times per day. But we couldn’t help it. The content was just too useful.
We like the NHC, really. But we got tired of that, and we got tired of lamenting Stormpulse’s lack (it was a hidden, internal lament), so we’ve added all of that developing storms data to Stormpulse. We’ve replaced their mainframe-inspired, ALL-CAPS announcements with legible, albeit imperfect text, and we’ve replaced their kidney bean outlines for perfect circles (although the kidney beans are certainly more meteorologically-correct). The text for the disturbance appears in a dock of sorts that can be dismissed by clicking the little ‘X’ at the top-right corner.
So now we’re back to eating our own dog food–using our own services to track weather, the same way we hope you do. Of course, we realize you go other places, and that’s O.K., but sometimes a little content annexation is necessary. Especially when it’s free.
Users of the Stormpulse API don’t need to do anything to implement this enhancement; it will show up automatically for any ‘current’ map.
Enjoy, and let us know what you think!