Steve Klabnik outlines some best practices in API design in “Nobody Understands REST or HTTP”, some of which I admit I need to follow more consistently. As he states in the end:
Seriously, most of the problems that you’re solving are social, not technical. The web is decades old at this point, most people have considered these kinds of problems in the past. That doesn’t mean that they always have the right answer, but they usually do have an answer, and it’d behoove you to know what it is before you invent something on your own.
As a community of developers and technologists, we have to build powerful, indispensable apps and services on top of this data. Killer apps that save lives. If we can make ourselves invaluable, they won’t have the chance to try to cut off our oxygen.
Combine mapping, with participation, and a subject matter that needs attention, and you can create some powerful, useful tools. Google Maps APIs and various mashup techniques made it easy for technologists to build services that pulled together these concepts, but now hosted services like Ushahidi’sCrowdMap and SeeClickFix are opening up the possibilities to more.