New Data API Around NASA Data Sets14 Oct 2011
NASA just launched a new Data API around its online archive of NASA data sets, that they launched back in August. The data.nasa.gov API provides a RESTful interface, with responses in JSON for the NASA data archives.
The new NASA Data API is part of the ongoing NASA Open Government Plan, providing access to data sets in a variety of categories including aeronautics, climate, earth science, engineering, institutional, life sciences, operations and space sciences.
There is a wealth of data available at data.nasa.gov. The APIs make it easier to access this data, but they are just data APIs. There is a huge opportunity for someone to abstract more meaningful, focused APIs delivering just photos of the moon, weather or climate change related data.
For example, a developer looking to get earth, moon and other planetary photographs, can find what they are looking for in the data.nasa.gov data sets, but they have to navigate the different categories and build the proper requests to get exactly what they are looking for. Some developers are willing to go through this trouble, while others are not, and will give up quickly.
There is opportunity for someone to deploy a earth photo API, moon photo API and mars photo API for example. These APIs would provide quick access API interfaces around specific and meaningful collections. Developers could quickly build calls pulling the information they need, while non-developers could also syndicate and share using widgets and other embeddable tools.
Its great to see government agencies not only making data available, but deploying APIs making the data easier to access. But there are more opportunities to derive more meaning, and identify new opportunities around these rich archives of data.