Spottingmode API - getting started

The Spottingmode API is reserved for webmasters and developers of free access sights dedicated to aviation. Every application requesting to use an API entry point will be checked and access is always depending on the criteria mentioned. The API should not be used to gain access to data for personal use only.

If you indeed wish to use the Spottingmode API for the above mentioned purpose, then feel free to sign up. You will receive an API key and secret which can be used to make calls to the API. After sign up you can request access to one or more entry points.

Sign up for the API

Authentication and call throttling

Every call to the Spottingmode API will need to be authenticated to make sure only authorized users make calls. There are different authentication levels which require different parameters to be passed to the API in the url.

Secondary to the need to only allow authorized users to call the API, is the need to throttle the calls. In order to prevent the Spottingmode server from becoming overloaded with API calls, each API method has a limit to the number of calls that a user can place. The limit is either per 24 hour period, 7 day period or 30 day period (daily, weekly and monthly call limits respectively). As soon as the call is authenticated the API will check if the limit is reached. If indeed the limit is already reached, the call will not complete and an error message will be returned.

Find out how to authenticate your calls


Once you are signed up for the API and have been granted access to one or more entry points, it is time to create your own functionality with the Spottingmode data. Read about all the options to extract data from Spottingmode in the API documentation.

The documentation contains all the currently available methods, what kind of information is returned, the parameters it accepts and how the responses will be organized.

Read the API documentation

Creating the urls for the API calls

All urls for the API follow the same simple structure:{entry_point}/{method_name}/{response_format}/?parameter=value

The entry point and method name are mandatory. Without valid values the call will simply not complete. The response format defines how the response will be formatted. The default for this is json and if the response format is not given in the url, or invalid, then json will be returned. The parameters are method dependent, check the documentation for the valid parameters for each method.

All entry points, method names, response formats and method parameters are url safe strings. Parameter values may not be. In many cases the parameter values may contain spaces or special characters that are not safe to be used in an url. Make sure to properly url encode all parameter values.

Parameter names should always be used in full lower case. The API will not recognize parameter names written with one or more capitals. Most parameter values are case insensitive, any case sensitive parameters will be clearly mentioned in the documentation. One notable exception is the api key which is always case sensitive.

A helpful url creator tool is available to create valid urls for all the available methods:

Url creator tool

API responses

The API response is never a full html page, but rather raw data in a format that can easily be read from programming or scripting languages. Common formats for this are json and xml, which both are supported by this API. Some methods also return csv files (pushed as download). Only one format is returned per call, json is the default but you can define the format through the url.

Understand the response formats