10 Top Open Data APIs

Technically, "Open Data" is free data provided by a government, school, company, online community, or other agency. Organizations provide Open Data to provide transparency, to enrich insights for researchers, and to enable developers to build useful civic, commericial and educational applications.

Developers wanting to create applications using free datasets can find hundreds of useful tools in the main Open Data category of ProgrammableWeb, including Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), Software Development Kits (SDKs), articles, and Source Code samples.

Plus, Open Data extends over several other categories in the ProgrammableWeb API directory, including Financial, Government, Games, Smart Cities, Sustainability, Healthcare, Science, Transportation, and Politics.

In this article, we detail the top ten Open Data APIs in our directory, based on user page visits.

1. Recreation.gov API

Recreation.gov stores information about federal recreation areas, facilities, events, activities, and more, in the Recreational Information Database (RIDB). This information has been made available through the RIDB Web Services API, which returns responses in XML and JSON.

2. Brewery DB API

BreweryDB is a fully moderated, open Library of breweries and beers from all around the world. The library is updated by users. The BreweryDB API enables developers to tap into the data. Data returned includes brewery location, website, contact information, description, logos, and more. For beers, data returned consists of style, coloring, bitterness, availability, labels, and more.

3. Trefle API

Trefle.io aims to deliver all plant information gathered from USDA, Tela Botanica, Tropicos, and International Plant Names Index (IPNI). The Trefle APITrack this API returns botanical data for plant species in JSON format. With the API, developers could build farming robots, gardening apps, and search apps with information related to plants of the world.

4. Solar System OpenData API

The Solar System OpenData APITrack this API returns astronomical data in JSON format. With the API, developers can implement data about solar system objects, orbitals, physicals, atmosphere, semi-major axis, and planets. The main page shows information in French language.

5. football data API

The RESTful football-data.org APITrack this API can be used to retrieve data on European football (soccer) leagues. The data, returned in JSON formats, includes information on fixtures (scheduled games), soccer seasons, teams, and more. The API is intended to hold accurate data, but the site states their may be lags with changes as data is not completely in real time. The football-data.org API is developed and maintained by Daniel Freitag, an independent software developer based in Germany.

6. Plant Image Analysis API

Plant Image Analysis organization provides a database of software tools for plant image analysis and datasets. The Plant Image Analysis APITrack this API enables programmatic access to the database. The results are returned as a JSON file and may include data for Roots, Leaves, Measurements and more.

7. Movebank Animal Tracking Data API

Movebank is an online database of free animal tracking data. This is a global data archive for animal movement data of any species. It is provided by 5000 researchers and research organizations and managed by the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, in coordination with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the Ohio State University and the University of Konstanz. Developers can use the Movebank APITrack this API to build applications that connect to the Movebank database.


Movebank API

Image: Movebank

8. Fishbase API

rOpenSci is a non-profit that advocates for sharing of scientific data. The Fishbase API returns fish data provided by rOpenSci. With this API, developers can implement data about fish ecology, ecosystems, fecundity, food items, maturity, population growth, reproduction, species, and swimming. The REST API uses backend SQL and it queries data in JSON format.

9. Companies House API

Companies House is an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in the UK that provides free company and executive officer information. The Companies House APITrack this API enables applications to search and retrieve company data about companies registered in the UK. Retrieve data including company names, addresses, officers, insolvency, disqualifications statements, and more for about 3 million companies.

10. Truthy OSoMe API

Truthy is an Indiana University research project that focuses on how politics, social news, and movements spread throughout Twitter. They offer a set of analytics, infographics, and open data focusing on popular hashtags representative of memes within in the political arena. The OSoMe (pronounced awesome) APITrack this API allows users to submit queries to the massive social media data collection maintained by the Observatory on Social Media at Indiana University.

But the list above is just a small sample of Open Data APIs. Developers can check out the more than 220 APIs, 68 SDKs, and 18 Source Code samples in ProgrammableWeb Open Data category to find the right dataset for their applications.

Be sure to read the next Open Data article: Daily API RoundUp: Gates Open Research, Mattermost, Acxiom, Hotpot, GreenRush