As I listened to the news about flooding coming out of Louisiana, and the impending hurricane headed up the east coast, I'm momentarily distracted from my monitoring of the API space. As I switch back to my work, I can't help but think about the stack of open APIs we will need to tackle future disasters (global climate change). No, APIs are not the silver bullet solution, but if the networking, storage, database, messaging, and any other gear in the disaster relief machine had a wealth available open API definitions, and open source software--the disaster relief machine could potentially be more efficient, scalable, and decentralized.
I'm not even sure what the current emergency response stack looks like, something I'm sure looks very different at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels. As I do with the other areas of research in my API work, I will add an emergency response API project, where I will continue to aggregate news, stories, companies, agencies, and individuals doing interesting things in this area. It will take time to build up enough research on the current state of API usage when it comes to emergency response, but once I generate enough awareness around it, I will blog more about it here on API Evangelist.
I'm guessing there is a wealth of information already out there, as well as proprietary services, and open tooling to choose from. Like many other areas of our society which I see APIs touching upon, I find lots of isolated, disparate solutions, but I see very few groups truly leveraging the interoperability that is possible when you employ APIs, as well as the increase community effects when you are sharing your API definitions, open source server software, as well as the web and mobile client solutions developed on top. We will see how much time I have for this area of research in coming months, but I'm hoping to get in a couple hours each week. Luckily, like most of my work, you will be able to find this work on Github, and fork to take in the different direction, or submit a pull request or issue sharing anything you feel should be included.