Date:
28 October 2021
Author:
Emil Jeyaratnam

The Victorian Government promotes an API-first approach and recommends every Victorian government online service provides API access where possible. 

The Victorian Government’s developer portal catalogues available government APIs. The APIs enable developers to programmatically connect to Victorian Government open datasets, lowering the barrier for accessing data and fostering innovation.

The catalogue not only provides access to the APIs, but also provides developers with tools and resources to integrate with government data easily and efficiently.

It is worth highlighting that the Victorian Government's API catalogue is different to the API Marketplace, which is currently in 'closed' Beta. The API Marketplace is a free, open platform that will contain both industry and government APIs.

The Victorian Government's API catalogue
The Victorian Government's API catalogue

The API catalogue

We covered the API catalogue in a Digital Transformation in Government (DTIG) article when it was released in Beta in 2019. Since then, the catalogue has evolved and there are currently 10 APIs available on the portal:

  1. DataVic Open Data API
  2. DataVic CKAN API
  3. Museums Victoria Collections API
  4. Victorian Government - Important Dates API
  5. Victorian Heritage API
  6. Popular Baby Names Victoria API
  7. ABS Labour Force API
  8. Agriculture Victoria Soils API
  9. DeveloperVic Catalogue API
  10. Environment Monitoring API

All APIs in the catalogue are RESTful APIs and the portal contains detailed documentation on usage, Swagger 2.0 definitions for download, and the ability to test API requests from within the catalogue itself.

To start using the APIs, users must register on the developer portal for access and then request access to the APIs. Once approved, you're provided with authorisation details and information about rate limits. You can also view usage and performance data via the monitoring and call logging service provided.

Our favourite APIs

We'll dive deeper into some APIs in future Open Data Insights. In this article, we'll profile some of our favourite APIs in the catalogue.

DataVic Open Data API

We've analysed datasets from the Victorian Government’s Data Directory ( www.data.vic.gov.au) in previous Open Data Insights (for example, Victorian school zones and Victorian road crash data). There are more than 5,000 datasets on the portal from various departments and agencies. 

The DataVic Open Data API is an upgrade of the existing CKAN API and allows users to access the open datasets on DataVic. The upgraded API implements the Whole of Victorian Government (WoVG) API Design Standards.

Through the API, users can access (view) organisations, datasets and resources.

Users can:

  • Retrieve a list of all datasets in the open data portal or retrieve a single dataset
  • Retrieve a list of organisations or retrieve a single organisation
  • Retrieve a list of all resources available in the open data portal

You'll need to generate an API key and use authentication to use the API.

The DataVic CKAN API offers more functionality, and allows users to search the portal and view recently changed datasets.

Victorian Government - Important Dates API

The Important Dates API allows users to retrieve important Victorian dates for the following date types:

  • Public holidays
  • School term dates and holidays
  • Daylight savings start and end dates
  • Parliament sitting dates
  • Multi-faith days

Users can query based on the date type, provide a date range, and sort by date or type.

An example snippet of the response JSON is shown below:

        {
            "uuid": "e45cdf64-e256-4042-8f1c-450182bc2f96",
            "name": "Daylight Savings Starts",
            "type": "DAYLIGHT_SAVING",
            "date": "2021-10-03",
            "description": "Daylight Saving Time begins at 2am on the first Sunday in October when clocks are put forward one hour"
        }

Museums Victoria Collections API

The Museums Victoria Collections API provides several GET endpoints to query the natural sciences and humanities collections of the museum. 

Users can:

  • Retrieve a list of articles in the collection
  • Retrieve a list of items (things made and used by people) in the collection
  • Retrieve a list of species in the collection
  • Retrieve a list of specimens (animals, fossils and rocks) in the collection

The API also provides a detailed search endpoint. The responses are in JSON and contain detailed metadata.

Additional information can be found on the museum’s developer page

Victorian Heritage API

The Heritage Council of Victoria provides an extensive Victorian Heritage API that allows users to query the Victorian Heritage Database (VHD). The API is a read-only RESTful API and accepts GET requests only (and returns JSON responses). The API requires an API key.

There are more than 20 endpoints provided. Some of the functionality provided for users are:

  • Retrieve a list of Victorian Heritage Places
  • Retrieve a list of shipwrecks in Victoria
  • Retrieve a list of available architects
  • Retrieve a list of architectural styles
  • Retrieve a list of recommended tours

The Popular Baby Names Victoria API allows the user to query the 100 most popular baby names in Victoria. The API is limited to returning 100 records and requires an API key.

Users can search by name (including wildcard * searches), gender, year and rank.

Do you have a favourite API?

Do you use any of the other APIs from the developer portal, such as the EPA’s Environment Monitoring API, or Agriculture Victoria Soils API? If so, we'd would love to hear from you and learn about how you've used the data. Get in touch via Twitter ( @salsadigital) or our website.