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Arthritis, bees, and migraines: Querying the indices endpoint

12.7.2018//Educational, Developer, Outdoor recreation, API & Mapping, Consumer applications, Health, Tutorials

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Brandon Clark

Software Engineer

We are all familiar with the impact weather has on our daily lives. Some days, going to the beach seems like a no-brainer. On the contrary, weather conditions can also prevent us from doing something as simple as driving to the supermarket.

Luckily, technological advancements have made it possible to forecast the weather with remarkable precision — to some degree, we can literally predict the future. This makes it easier to plan our favorite activities — like a trip to the beach — around what the forecast looks like. But what if we took this one step further? What if we were able to forecast the potential for arthritis pain due to changes in the atmosphere? What if I wanted to know how the atmospheric conditions may influence my round of golf this weekend?

What if we told you that these questions were rhetorical, because we actually can do this? We built our indices endpoint with exactly these concerns in mind — and you can access it right through the Xweather API.

About the indices endpoint

The indices endpoint provides an index for determining how common health concerns and outdoor activities may be impacted by current or forecasted weather conditions.

  • Suffer from migraines? There's an index for that.

  • Have a nagging cold? There's an index for that.

  • Friends coming over for a barbecue this weekend? There's an index for that.

  • Curious how active bees might be today? There's an index for that, too.

How it works

The Xweather indices endpoint is broken into two categories — health and activities — each having its own 1 to 5 scale to represent the index. The scale used for these groups is as follows:

  • A higher index value for the health category indicates the potential for worsened symptoms

  • A higher index value for the activities category indicates the weather conditions are optimal for said activity

Weather and your health

Let's look at an example using indices/arthritis. Studies have shown that dramatic changes in weather, specifically in barometric pressure ahead of and during storms, can result in worsened arthritis pain. Other components that contribute to this include changes in dew point, precipitation, and even wind speed. We've created an algorithm that takes all these factors into consideration, along with their deviation from the norm, and produced an index that provides insight as to how the weather might affect arthritis pain.

This sample query looks at the index for arthritis for the next two days in Pittsburgh, PA:

https://api.aerisapi.com/indices/arthritis/pittsburgh,pa?to=+2days&client_id=[client_id]&client_secret=[client_secret]

The first period’s forecast arthritis index is indicating an index of 4 or high. Compared to the actual weather forecast for the same day, the cause of increased arthritis pain becomes more evident: Lower barometric pressure and cool, damp conditions.

https://api.aerisapi.com/forecasts/pittsburgh,pa?to=+2days&client_id=[client_id]&client_secret=[client_secret]

In periods two and three, forecast arthritis indices fall back down to 1, or minimal, on the scale which correlates to forecast higher barometric pressure (>30.00”) and fairer weather conditions.

Weather and outdoor recreational activities

Let's take that same logic from our arthritis example and apply it to swimming. The algorithm for this index is going to assume swimmers will enjoy themselves when it is warm outside and the water will comfortably cool them once submerged. Here is a sample query for the swimming index for the next 2 days in Corpus Christi, TX:

https://api.aerisapi.com/indices/swimming/corpus+christi,tx?to=+2days&client_id=[client_id]&client_secret=[client_secret]

As you can see, the first period's forecast swimming index is 4, or very good. If you compare this index with Corpus Christi's forecast conditions that day, the reason for the "very good" classification becomes abundantly clear — A maxTempF in the mid 70s and humidity in the low 90s should provide enough warmth for the swimmer to feel comfortable as they gets in and out of the pool. Our forecasted 0% for probability of precipitation ("pop") and cloud coverage ("sky") also lend to ideal outdoor swimming conditions.

However, the next forecast period has an index of 2, or poor. When compared to the forecast, we see the max temperature drops to the mid 60s, cloud coverage is forecast at 72%, and the probability of precipitation increases to 25%. These factors compiled together would most certainly make poor swimming conditions.

Try it out

Start accessing the indices endpoint and more with a free trial of our API and mapping features below and find out how the indices endpoint can improve everyday life and bring a fresh perspective on the weather to your audience.

Brandon Clark

Software Engineer

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