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Old 25-07-2016, 09:56   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Boat: Allmand 31
Posts: 4
Weather APIs?

I want to pick people's brains on the question of Weather APIs...

My big problem: I want a video dashboard at my local sailing club (Humber Bay Sailing Club) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada showing everything a skipper about to take a boat out should know, things like time, upcoming club courses/events, sunrise/sunset times (calculable from position/date/time), and WEATHER.

The smaller problem, just because of geographic oddities of were the club is located, high speed DSL/Cable Internet is not available, meaning we are looking at dial-up Internet or via wireless over the cell phone. This means just grabbing a graphics loaded weather widget is undesirable, because it will be slow (dial-up) or expensive (cell phone). So, what I want is to use a (preferably free) Weather API where I send in a URL with a few options (ie: position, preferred units of measure, etc) and they send back a few kB of weather forcast data that I can parse and turn into a pretty display with little pre-loaded drawings of the sun, clouds, thunderbolts, etc.. In other words keep the amount of data being moved to the bare minimum.

Things I would like to get include:

- Weather forecast for the next 3-5 days, with temperature / precipitation expected
- Wind speeds/directions for the next 24 hours broken out by smaller (4 hour or less chunks of time).
- Sunrise/Sunset times (so I don't have to bother with that).
- UV index would be nice.

So, has anyone done a comparison on weather APIs and their respective suitabilities for sailing? Also, what is the stability of the data source is (ie: I don't want to have to redo everything in 6 months because the data provider has gone bankrupt or totally changed their API)?

Thanks.

Colin.
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Old 12-08-2016, 00:14   #2
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Re: Weather APIs?

Check out https://developer.forecast.io/. They run the popular Darksky app for iOS and also power a lot of other apps.

They take data from multiple sources, aggregate it, run some fancy neural nets and pump out a pretty accurate forecast in my experience.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:13   #3
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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Boat: Allmand 31
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Re: Weather APIs?

Should have posted a note about this a while back...

Last year (2018) I did use Weather Underground and Environment Canada as data sources. Environment Canada is a PAIN to use as a source, think blocks of free-form text but I do throw their Western Lake Ontario Marine forecast up on screen. Weather Underground was a near pleasure to use, with a free developer level account could once per hour grab a .json file with current weather conditions at Billy Bishop Airport (right beside Lake Ontario) and weather forecasts for the next 3 days. Easy to extract information like wind speed, temperatures, etc.. Unfortunately, Weather Underground discontinued their free limited developer accounts earlier this year .

So, I have converted my code to work with a free account that can be obtained from OpenWeatherMap. Things are somewhat different with OpenWeatherMap, some better, some worse, still I've got the display working and that is the important thing. Oh, and Environment Canada hasn't changed, still a pain, but after the bother of changing over from WeatherUnderground to OpenWeatherMap, maybe staying the same is an okay thing...
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