Whether you’re building an app, looking to add weather data to your software platform, or looking to develop a connected product, you may have different needs and requirements from a Weather API. We’ve put together this guide to help you know what kind of questions to ask before you go ahead and integrate.
1) How Comprehensive is the Weather API Solution?
You can answer this question based on the purpose and capabilities you expect from a weather API. For example, is a basic weather forecast enough for your needs, or will you also be looking for air quality reporting and/or pollen and wildfire tracking in the near future?
If you are seeking to build additional features, develop subscription offerings or launch new services around weather data integration, an API provider that offers a more complete environmental picture along with features like personalized actionable insights may provide more value. You should ensure you’re able to scale early on.
2) What Coverage Does the Weather API Provide?
Think about the level of relevance you want to bring to your target audience with weather data: Are your target audience and their key needs covered? For example, users in countries with known pollution problems will likely find air quality data useful, while regions regularly plagued by forest fires would appreciate wildfire tracking capabilities.
Consider the resolution of the data as well. How granular is the information delivered by the weather API? Will a simple temperature and rain daily forecast be enough, or are you also looking for ‘feels like’ recommendations and visualizations to provide more value and higher levels of engagement?
3) How Easy is it to Integrate the Weather API?
Many providers offer free trials of their weather API offerings so the best recommendation here is to ‘try before you buy'. It’s also worth considering the extent of documentation and account/customer advisory support offered by the API provider, depending on your needs.
5) Can You Trust the Information Behind the Weather API?
Unreliable or inaccurate information is often worse than no information at all. You’ll want to consider the science behind the data, evidence of data reliability, and protection against downtime provision. Does the weather API provider specify its sources and explain the layout of its technology?
You can also see who else works with them. Are their client's reputable brands? Do they have a track record of providing thorough solutions when unexpected issues arise?
6) What’s Your Budget?
If you’re a 1-person operation or a student developer looking to explore weather API options for a project, then a free or very low-cost weather API offering may be your best choice.
However, if you’re offering a serious commercial solution, it’s unlikely a free or very low-cost solution will be able to serve all your needs. Our recommendation here is to document all the likely features and coverage you’ll likely need then ask the provider to deliver a cost based on these requirements.
7) Is Any Support Offered beyond the Basic Weather API Offering?
Does the provider have experience working with businesses and products similar to yours? Is there a consultant on the other side of the technical product you can liaise with/express any concerns/problem-solve with?
For some businesses looking to integrate weather APIs for MVPs and innovation, this kind of additional support is likely to be very important. Consider the ongoing process for a long-term collaboration to judge the value provided by the partnership.