The aprsworld.net project was started in March 2001 by James Jefferson Jarvis, KB0THN. The goal from the beginning has ben to parse the APRS internet stream into data that can be stored in a relational database system.
As the time of writing (September 2003) about 1 million raw APRS packets traverse the internet stream each day. Each one of these packets is parsed and inserted into the appropriate table of the aprsworld.net database. These results in about 5 million inserts a day, with an average of about 60 inserts / queries per second. The database grows by about 6 gigabytes per month.
By using the aprsworld.net database you can save the trouble of collecting, parsing, and storing this large ammount of data. Simple operations like finding the last position of a APRS station are extremely easy - and more complex dataminning operations are possible with minimum effort.
This script provides an XML interface to aprsworld.net, so you don't need to have direct access to the aprsworld or findu databases, or know SQL, in order to get generalized and standardly formatted APRS data directly from the Internet into your application. Free code libraries for parsing XML are easy to find for almost any programming environment.
As new minor versions of this script are made available, they will reside in their own directory containing the version number, so you can safely link to a script without future upgrade changes affecting anything. (bugfix-level versions will not have their own directory)