Exercise your brain, expand your knowledge!

Bet you didn’t even know you enjoyed GIS-related games!  Check out these free online games to exercise your brain and take a break from work!
GeoGuessr   – This game takes you over random locations all over the world.  You’re plopped down in google-street view and you have to figure out where you are!  Compete with friends or play alone.  [[free, no login required]]

GeoSettr – If you got a kick out of GeoGuessr, try your hand in GeoSetter and create your OWN GeoGuessr challenge.

MapToid  – Decipher clues in satellite view to play in this treasure hunt.  Currently there is not event going on (as of 19 December) but follow their Twitter (@maptoid) to be one of the firsts know know when a new event begins!  Happy treasure hunting.  [[free but login is required]]

Mystery Skype  – If you’re a teacher this is a great tool to use to connect with other classrooms all over the world.  Students use their geography skills to guess where the other class is located!

tomnod – Help make a difference!  Tomnod utilizes the power of crowdsourcing to identify objects in satellite images.  Volunteers (you) explore the area solving real-world problems.  Past campaigns have been examingin the ocean to try and find the missing Malaysia airline MH370 and mapping damage done by Super Typhoon Haiyan to help aid first responders and humanitarian groups.

Plesae let me know any great games/interactive websites I’m missing, I’d love to add them to this list.

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API – Web Service. What is it?

API – Application Programming Interface

APIs are calls made between applications managed through web services.  Web services are a collection of programming languages used to allow applications to communicate over the Internet.  An APIs job is to run silently in the background, grabbing the information a user needs.

Web services allow different sources to communicate with eachother without time-consuming coding, and it’s not tied to any one programming language.  The first step to utilizing API calls is to create a URL.  Of course, review the documentation beforehand for the API you’re interested in, to make sure you get the output you need.

Usually, an API call will require the use of an API key that keeps track of your requests.  An API key is unique to each user and similar to a password; something you shouldn’t share with other people.

The basic idea of using an API for geocoding involves a locator fuction that attempts to look for matches to the user input and will show a result after the call is made.

References:

1) http://money.howstuffworks.com/business-communications/how-to-leverage-an-api-for-conferencing2.htm

2) http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/Web_Services.html

3) https://gigaom.com/2010/10/29/using-apis-not-quite-as-hard-as-it-looks/

4) http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/api-good-technology-explained/