Are questions asking for data sources or APIs for aviation-related programs on-topic here?

For example, the question Is there an API to retrieve airport departure and arrivals? just came up. There's a bit of discussion there about whether it should be on-topic here or not.

It seems like we've had a few of this type of questions in the past, but I can't remember if there was a consensus regarding them or, if so, what it was. I also didn't find anything about it previously on aviation meta, though I might have missed it.

There is a tag on the site that has some of these questions. The receptions seems to be a be bit mixed, but most of them are low or no votes and quite a large percentage are unanswered.

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    $\begingroup$ Just going to throw it out there, but the Open Data Stack Exchange might be a good candidate for these questions. There appear to be a couple of airline-related questions over there already. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Brown Jan 14 '17 at 3:18
  • $\begingroup$ If not here, which SE site would be most appropriate for these questions? $\endgroup$ – Greg Bacon Jan 15 '17 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ As Kevin mentioned, data requests are explicitly on-topic at open data. However, it seems a bit ambiguous whether answers would be restricted to data sources that fall into their definition of open data, which is "any kind of data that can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose." $\endgroup$ – reirab Jan 15 '17 at 20:29

I don't think we have any particular group opinion on this yet, although these questions do seem to come up regularly.

Personally, I think they should be considered as product recommendations and therefore off-topic. I say that because there are so many possibilities and everyone wants something different: airport reference data, aircraft movements, airspace definitions, airline fleet data, fuel prices etc. have all come up. Some people want worldwide data, others want it for one country; some want a free source, others are willing to pay; some want real-time data for operational purposes, others want data sets for analysis etc. etc. IMO, we shouldn't be a service for matching people to the ideal source of data for their particular needs.

But we could make an exception for data that's available from an official source, i.e. from a regulator or government. So if someone asks for TFR or NOTAM data we can direct them to their local regulator's site and/or API. But if they need something more than that, they should go and look for a data provider who has whatever combination of data, service and pricing that works for them.

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    $\begingroup$ I actually think that these make good questions because of all of the factors that you mention. It is sometimes very hard to find exactly what you are looking for, and who else is in a better place to answer these types of questions than others in the industry? $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Jan 13 '17 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ There's also Open Data which can handle data requests :) $\endgroup$ – Zizouz212 Jan 20 '17 at 22:10

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