Using aWhere’s Open-Source Weather Data Tools

01/12/17
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nasa_gov_globe_west_2048.jpgThe digital age we live in today is distinguished by the incredible increase in the speed of information delivery and the variety of tools available to deliver it. Open-source software is an important part of this change, particularly in the area of data science. 

As a weather data provider, aWhere is constantly working to help clients integrate the aWhere APIs into their proprietary analytics. At the same time, we have put a priority on developing tools that interested analysts can use to access aWhere’s data in open-source software environments. These tools enable quick and easy exploration of aWhere’s data, and we hope will help to drive research, validation, and thought leadership on the impact of the changing climate on agriculture.

In this post we provide information on some of the tools that we’ve made available to current and potential users of our data.  All of these tools require a consumer key and secret to use.  If you don’t already have an aWhere key and secret, you may get one by creating a free trial account and setting up an “app.”  Free, 30-day trial accounts with aWhere are available through our developer community portal, at developer.awhere.com.[1]  

Postman collection

Postman is a useful tool for exploring APIs, providing an easy-to-use interface for making queries and viewing the outputs. For users who are not very familiar with the basic workings of an API, this is a great place to start playing around. The Postman application can be downloaded from getpostman.com.

aWhere has built a “collection” that can be added on to Postman, comprised of template forms for authentication and basic queries with the aWhere APIs. This collection should be downloaded as a zip file from Github.[2]

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A written tutorial describing how to use the aWhere Postman collection is available upon request. Please reach out to beawhere@awhere.com for more details.

aWhere R package

R is one of the most popular open-source statistical programming languages and software environments used for data science today. A community of millions of users worldwide is continually improving R, adding functionality, and writing tutorials to help new users get up to speed. This community is part of what makes R a particularly powerful and flexible tool.

aWhere has developed an R package that provides users with a set of functions that make it much easier to query data from the aWhere APIs directly from the R interface. This package helps users with only basic skills in R to perform queries that would normally require high-level programming skills.

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This package is hosted on Github [3] along with documentation that shows how to install the package and use each function. New users of R can consult free tutorials and other general help at CRAN, RStudio, and many other online resources.

Additional Resources

Sample code showing how to access the aWhere APIs using Python, PHP, and C# is also available on Github.[4] Using these samples typically requires some intermediate-level programming skills.

aWhere is always looking to respond to user requests and improve its tools to best serve the needs of customers and researchers alike. We welcome developers to join our community, post to the forums, and fork repos on Github for development. Suggestions, comments, or questions are welcome from all users.

[1]  http://developer.awhere.com/api/get-started

[2] https://github.com/aWhereAPI/API-Postman-Collections

[3] https://github.com/aWhereAPI/aWhere-R-Library

[4] https://github.com/aWhereAPI/API-Code-Samples

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