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Defra creates API for rainfall data



Latest move in department’s open data programme as number of datasets released totals 13,000

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has set up an API for its rainfall data as the latest step in its open data programme.

It said the data, which is already used by the Environment Agency for flood warnings and to assess water resources, provides the scope for other organisations to develop new services to complement those already operating.

The data will be supplied from Defra’s network of automatic rain gauges across England, and manually-read gauges that are operated by volunteers.

It is transferred via telemetry in near real time to internal and external systems, and will be made available to the API at different intervals, varying from once a day during normal conditions to several times during a flood.

The move marks another step forward in the department’s campaign to place itself at the forefront of the move to open up government data for re-use. In June 2015 it set itself a target of releasing 8,000 datasets in the following 12 months and surpassed that to hit 11,000 in June 2016.

Last week its permanent secretary Claire Moriarty told the Think Digital Government conference that the total is now around 13,000.

Image by Faris Algosaibi, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

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