Application Programming Interface. An API is a set of programming instruction and standards for accessing Web-based data and software applications. With access to an API, developers can design products and services powered (at least in part) by another company's data or software application.
Using already-established Web technologies, your development team can quickly set your system up to make data requests to the Maponics Spatial API and have that data returned to your system. Your system can then process this data for use, be it boundary areas for inclusion on a interactive map, or pure data for targeted references or lookups.
We have created a sample Google Maps mashup. Our developers have written code so that when you enter your postal address and submit it, the Maponics Spatial API is sent a query asking for the name and boundary area of the neighborhood covering your address. That data is then returned to the Google Maps mashup and displayed.
Which is better, full dataset file delivery or data access via API?
Neither, they are just different. The best choice for you depends on the resources you have available. Even major corporations with experienced Web programmers in-house sometimes don't have the staff or infrastructure in place to support ongoing map database management and hosting. The API is a way for them to access geospatial data without having to expand their internal capabilities.