At OpenDataSoft, our vision has always been to make data available to the widest audience. In this tradition, it is necessary to bolster interoperability between our platform and the most commonly used data processing tools. This is why we have decided to augment our API endpoint offer with the support of the Open Data protocol (OData).

This protocol, born in Microsoft labs and recommended by the Open Government Data Initiative was designed to allow Open Data distribution. Its version 4.0, which was recently made into a standard by the OASIS committee, defines a data exchange service based on a REST architecture over the JSON format. Its use enables access to a wide array of data sources in a well-defined fashion.

OData website

This news will not only be welcomed by developers who wish to use our platform as a data source for their applications, but for users of software like Microsoft Excel. In fact, this popular software supports harvesting data through this protocol and refresh those data periodically.

 

OData feed refresh interval in Microsoft Excel

Setting the OData feed refresh interval in Microsoft Excel

 

As of today, all of the data hosted on our platform are made available on our read-only OData endpoint.

Our service has support for versions 3.0 and 4.0 of the protocol, in JSON and AtomPub formats. It exposes a metadata page that describes the datasets structure, a dataset list as well as a list of each dataset records. These can be combined with most options defined by the OData technical specifications, allowing for searching, result paging, partial data results to only display certain records or certain fields, raw data harvesting in the best fit format. Therefore, image files can be visualized straight from the service endpoint.

To illustrate this service, here is a use case example:

  • We haven’t been to the theater for such a long time. Let’s see a list of all theaters in New York city. To do so, we can navigate to:

/api/odata/nyc-theaters

  • A friend recommended us a theater on 44th street but we can’t quite remember its name. We can get a list of those with:

/api/odata/nyc-theaters?$search=44th

  • Here it is, Belasco Theater, the second result is the one! Let’s have a closer look at its data using its record id on:

/api/odata/nyc-theaters(‘f76c14274cd9a18ee9e67d2047d1758ac4f69d1f’)

  • Finally, we want to get its coordinates contained in the “geom” field in WKT format so we know what to input on our GPS:

/api/odata/nyc-theaters(‘f76c14274cd9a18ee9e67d2047d1758ac4f69d1f’)/geom/$value

We sincerely hope that this new API will give you ideas of innovative application based on Open Data.