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Preparing for Spire Maritime 2.0 API (GraphQL)

Advice for Spire clients on preparing for the next release of Spire Maritime 2.0 API using GraphQL.

Spire Maritime Vessels API is the service that provides the cleaned AIS data and optionally all other premium features Spire offers like routing, calculated ETAs, and Enhanced Vessel Data.

Spire Maritime 2.0 is the second iteration of this premium solution and has been designed to take Spire Maritime forward, allowing for the easy integration of new features and for scaling performance as Spire data volumes continue to grow.

In this FAQ section, we hope to answer your questions about Spire Maritime 2.0 and any plans to migrate to it. However, if your questions are not answered here, then please submit a question through the client support form.

What are the benefits of Spire Maritime 2.0 API over Vessels 1.0 API? 

  • New more flexible and easy to use APIs using graphQL
  • Improved and more accurate vessel identification mechanism:
    • Recognizing and resolving where possible duplicate vessels reporting using the same MMSI number.
    • Recognizing and resolving where possible duplicate vessels reporting using the same IMO number.
    • Maintaining a single vessel history even when changing MMSI number.
  • More data available with:
    • Additional AIS sources - The latest terrestrial partner added March 2021 is only available in the new services. Satellite AIS data from the next generation of Spire satellites will only be included in the new services.
    • Improved and extended vessel characteristics - An additional vessel characteristics partner has been added along with additional data fields added to the new service.
  • A single endpoint for all API services: Going forward a single GraphQL endpoint will be used to deliver all core Maritime API services.
  • Better performance: Quicker and more stable than the V1 API.
  • Faster technology development: The new platform creates a scalable architecture that allows for quicker integration of new features.
  • New features exclusive to 2.0 API: Such as weather routing and port events, will be developed on this API.

When will the Spire Maritime 2.0 API be available?

Spire released the Spire Maritime 2.0 (formerly known as the Vessels 2.0 API) for Beta testing on August 6, 2021. The GA release is anticipated to be mid October 2021. As with all IT development projects, this is subject to the passing of rigorous testing and no unseen technical difficulties.

How long will Vessels 1.0 API remain available?

Spire will not disable Vessels API V1.0 until all clients have been migrated. We hope to achieve migration of all users by the end of 2021 and will be providing documentation, sample programs, training, and support to help make the transition as easy as possible.

Do licenses/contracts for Vessels 1.0 API cover cover the GraphQL based Spire Maritime 2.0 API?

Spire customers have contracts granting access to different data sets and different solutions. Anyone whose contract lists Vessels V1 API will automatically have access to Spire Maritime 2.0 API.

Do we need to change the ETL code to switch to the new API? 

While Spire strives to make change as minimally disruptive as possible, the data format of results from the Spire Maritime 2.0 API will be different from that of the Vessels 1.0 API. We expect significant similarity with only subtle differences that are still being worked out. Once the schema of Spire Maritime 2.0 API results is confirmed details will be published and advice prepared on how to map between the 1.0 and 2.0 API results.

We anticipate ETL or DTS code will need updating to work with the new API.

Is there a change in the API structure?

Vessels 1.0 is REST based API. Spire Maritime 2.0 is a GraphQL based API.

Both are HTTPS based and return results in JSON format, but the structure of the results will be different, requiring different data mappings (see the answer above about ETL). Also, the method of making data requests, known as a query in GraphQL, changes somewhat. The differences will be made clear when migration guides are released.

What will Spire do to help clients migrate from Vessels 1.0 to Spire Maritime 2.0 API?

Spire Maritime will be releasing detailed documentation about the new API and sample programs to query the API that demonstrate how to request, receive, and transform data from the new Maritime 2.0 GraphQL API. We will also be arranging webinars demonstrating how to use the new API. Finally, as we do currently, we will offer bespoke support to all clients who use the new API. This support will be available from the Spire Maritime sales engineering team and help may be requested through the client support form here.