Now that I have API Evangelist fired back up, I am spending more time with my drones, working to understand the role that APIs can play in the booming industry. I have been studying how companies like Airmap are working to be API brokers for the drone industry, and how government open data and APIs are being injected into the personal and commercial drone experience. I want to continue this exploration, learn more about how companies are injecting data, content, and other algorithmic resources into this experience, and brainstorm some other approaches to augmenting the world of drones with API resources.
As part of my regular monitoring of the space, I am tuned into many of the examples of how drones are being used. Many of them are pretty unrealistic, but some of them have real world usage, like disaster relief. Think about the potential when you being to feed in vital data about local infrastructure pulled from city open data, or maybe household data from census data. This is where augmenting the drone experience begins to get interesting for me, going beyond just telling me where I can or cannot fly.
I fly a DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone (I am eyeballing that Mavic), and my drone experience is primarily through the DJI Go iPad application, making API integration a pretty straightforward concept. My flight plan, latitude, longitude, elevation, and direction are shared via APIs in real time (if there is an Internet connection), and I can share live-stream of the video to Youtube and Facebook via APIs. I also get regular updates about the flight condition, warnings of airports, forest fires, and other activity via the app. This is just the beginning.
I want to explore what is next for APIs based on what I am seeing emerge across the drone sector. I'm taking a series of screenshots of the DJI Go app and turn it into a transparent augmented reality template that I can use to explore what is possible. I have a number of drone scenarios that I can't replicate in the real world and need a simulation environment where I can think through examples like the disaster relief one above, or in some of the agricultural and industrial scenarios I'm reading about in the news.
I'm underwhelmed by most of what I'm seeing when it comes to the Internet of Things, but the world of drones fascinates me – partly due to my experiences this summer but also because of the seemingly unlimited ways in which they are being to put use. Much of it worries me, but like many of the other ways I see API being put to use, I am just trying to understand and be aware. Once this evolves, maybe I can lend my perspective on how we can help strike a more healthy balance across the industries they are impacting.