The ArcGIS REST API is really powerful and the City of Philadelphia (which I work for) is using it more in our open data efforts. We’ve got some big time datasets on it like all of the Police Dept’s Part I crimes since the beginning of 2006 and the Office of Property Assessments’ recent actual value initiative which set new values for almost every property in the city. But, it can be frustrating for developers and other users that are new to querying the API to get started. This application attempts to make that on-boarding a bit easier by stripping away some of the advanced features that we don’t see being used very often. If the user needs those advanced features, like non-Web Mercator spatial references, they can use the standard API console at any time. But with this application the user doesn’t have to navigate to the service and layer that they need, they just select the data set that they want from the top drop-down and the rest of the parameters and the application constructs the URL for them. There’s a static JSON file that defines all of those endpoints and additional information like a description and links to metadata can be included as well. Plus the ability to draw the geometry that you want to query on instead of the frustration of trying to the object string just right is a big step up in my opinion.
The app’s still a work in progress and we’ll look to improve it over time. With some server-side code, it could be extended into a full-blown data extractor. There’s a lot still to do and you can check out the code at the City of Philadelphia’s GitHub page.
Adding a repo to the official City of Philadelphia GitHub page was especially satisfying for me. The City of Philadelphia is on GitHub. And I have some of my code in it. How cool is that?Send a pull request for this post on GitHub.