Getting Started with the CivicData API

This is the first in a series of posts that will provide an introduction and overview of the platform. is the new open data platform that is available for any government to use to publish open data. Built on the best of breed, open source CKAN platform, provides powerful APIs and other tools that can be used to work with data and build valuable civic applications.

In this brief example, I’ll use the SQL API and NYC bike share data to create a simple list of the longest bike share trips from July of 2013.

In this example, I make use of the curl and sed utilities, as well as the powerful jq utility for working with JSON data. The complete jq recipe used in the video above can be found here.

What’s really exciting about’s APIs is that not only can you leverage any number of tools to process JSON responses on a backend server, you can also add a callback parameter to any API call to get a JSONP response – allowing you to easily work with open data from a client side application.’s powerful APIs allow you to do almost anything you want with open data, so set up an account then check out the documentation.

Stay tuned for more posts on the many powerful features of the platform.

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