data.gov.au July 2015 report

Hey folks,

This month we’d like to take a diversion from our usual report update and instead talk about CKAN’s DataStore extension (however – for the record – another 269 datasets were added in July). The extension enables data.gov.au to create machine readable endpoints ( or data APIs) from properly formatted tabular data.

Currently there are around 1,700 machine readable resources on data.gov.au.

But what does that mean?

Well if you were so inclined you could write some code, point it at an API enabled dataset and thus create a visualisation without having to download the data. Then, when the data is updated, new information will be instantly reflected in your visualisation. There are applications that already use data.gov.au APIs including the National Map.

You can spot machine readable resources by looking for the green Data API button. Clicking the button provides a popup with options for using the data.

illustrating the location of the data api button

But what does it do?

It’s probably easier to show you what it does. We’ll use the twitter stats dataset because it’s easy to follow. The data from the most recent resource can be accessed by using;

https://data.gov.au/api/action/datastore_search_sql?sql=SELECT%20*%20from%20%22f87fd82a-ccc5-4cca-8743-589f9029d919%22

That may not look all that enticing (it’s JSON), but your computer could eat it up. For example it could take that data stream and, from it, identify the 10 most frequent Tweeters for the month of July.

top tweeters in july - for illustrative purposes only

Then, your computer could take the same code and re-use it for data from June.

top tweeters in june - for illustrative purposes only

We could even take that code, put it on a webpage, and then every time the page was visited the chart would display the most prolific APS Tweeters – really, the sky is the limit.

The cool thing about Data APIs is that they are constrained only by what data is available, and your imagination. Check out what others have cooked up using open data at the latest GovHack competition.

And the value?

The automated process of creating data API’s allows government entities to avoid the costs associated with setting up their own data serving (or, sharing) infrastructure. The data from these APIs can be used to create visualisations like the interactive Australian budget or applications to inform about energy ratings.

For more information on value of open data, have a look at some of the reports available via our open data toolkit.

So what’s next?

We haven’t really talked much about Data APIs in the past, but from now on we’ll be reporting on the usage of the datastore_search_sql method.

chart illustrating api calls in june with a considerable spike during govhack weekend

Usage of datastore_search_sql peaked over the GovHack weekend

And from August onwards you’ll find the following table included in our monthly report.

Cheers,
Allan and the data.gov.au Team

Statistics / Measures

July 2015
Total Webpage Visits 35,408
Total Page views 161,192
Total Discoverable Datasets 7,146
Total Organisations 173
Total Data Resources / Files 35,158
Total Machine Readable / Data API Resources 1733

As always you can find more of our stats here.

Posted in Benefits of open data, Posts from feeds, Transparency Tagged with: , , , , , ,