Designing a Semantic API for Open City Data


  • Auriol Degbelo Institute for Geoinformatics, University of Muenster
  • Devanjan Bhattacharya
  • Sergi Trilles
  • Carlos Granell Canut
  • Christian Kray Universität Münster
  • Nikolaus Schiestel Universität Münster



open data, semantic API, user requirements, transnational study


Many countries currently maintain a national data catalog, which provides access to the
available datasets – sometimes via an Application Programming Interface (API). These APIs play a
crucial role in realizing the benefits of open data as they are the means by which data is
discovered and accessed by applications that make use of it. This article proposes semantic APIs
as a way of improving access to open data. A semantic API helps to retrieve datasets according to
their type (e.g., sensor, climate, finance), and facilitates reasoning about and learning from
data. In order to inform the design of such an API, the article explores the different categories
of datasets made available in 40 European open data catalogs. The results show that the
probability of inter-country agreement between open data catalogs is less than 30 percent, and
that few categories stand out as candidates for a transnational semantic API.


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How to Cite

Degbelo, A., Bhattacharya, D., Trilles, S., Granell Canut, C., Kray, C., & Schiestel, N. (2016). Designing a Semantic API for Open City Data. JeDEM - EJournal of EDemocracy and Open Government, 8(2), 21–58.



Special Issue: Research Papers