Data Commons REST API

The Data Commons REST API is a REST library that enables developers to programmatically access data in the Data Commons knowledge graph. This package allows users to explore the structure of the graph, integrate statistics from the graph into data analysis applications and much more.

What’s new in V2

The V2 API collapses functionality from V1 API into a smaller number of endpoints. We do this by introducing a syntax for “Relation Expressions”, described below. Each API endpoint can also handle both single and bulk requests.

Getting Started

First time using the Data Commons API, or just need a refresher? Take a look at our Getting Started Guide.

Service Endpoints

The base URL for all endpoints below is:
API URI path Description
Node /v2/node Fetches information about edges and neighboring nodes
Observation /v2/observation Fetches statistical observations
Resolve Entities /v2/resolve Returns a Data Commons ID (DCID) for entities in the graph

Introducing Relation Expressions

Data Commons represents real world entities and data as nodes. These nodes are connected by directed edges, or arcs, to form a knowledge graph. The label of the arc is the name of the property.

Relation expressions include arrow annotation and other symbols in the syntax to represent neighboring nodes, and to support chaining and filtering. These new expressions allow all of the functionality of the V1 API to be expressed with fewer API endpoints in V2. All V2 API calls require relation expressions in the property or expression parameter.

The following table describes symbols in the V2 API relation expressions:

Symbol Represents
-> An out arc
<- An in arc
{property:value} Filtering; identifies the property and associated value
[] Multiple properties, separated by commas
* All properties linked to this node
+ One or more expressions chained together for indirect relationships, like containedInPlace+{typeOf:City}

In and out arcs: <- & ->

Note that arcs in the Data Commons Graph have directions. In the case of the Argentina, the property containedInPlace exists in both in and out directions, illustrated in Figure 1:

Figure 1. Relationship diagram for the property containedInPlace of the country Argentina. Note the directionality of the property containedInPlace: for the node “Argentina”, the in arc represents “Argentina contains Buenos Aires”, while the out arc represents “Argentina in South America”.

For example, nodes from out arcs are represented by ->, while nodes from in arcs are represented by <-. To illustrate using the above example:

  • Regions that include Argentina (dcid: country/ARG): country/ARG->containedInPlace
  • All cities directly contained in Argentina (dcid: country/ARG): country/ARG<-containedInPlace{typeOf:City}

Filters: {property:value}

Filters can be used to reduce results to only match nodes with a specified property and value. Using the same example, country/ARG<-containedInPlace+{typeOf:City} will only return nodes with the typeOf:City, filtering out typeOf:AdministrativeArea1 and so on.

Specifying multiple properties: [property1, property2]

Multiple properties can be combined together within []. For example, in order to request a few out arcs for a node, use ->[name, latitude, longitude] (this example is fully described in this Node API example).

Wildcard: *

In order to retrieve all properties linked to a node, use the *, e.g. <-*. This example is fully described in this Node API example.

Chaining properties: +

A property chain expression represents requests for information about nodes which are connected by the same property, but are a few hops away. This is supported only for the containedInPlace property.

To illustrate again using the Argentina example:

  • All cities directly contained in Argentina (dcid: country/ARG): country/ARG<-containedInPlace{typeOf:City}
  • All cities indirectly contained in Argentina (dcid: country/ARG): country/ARG<-containedInPlace+{typeOf:City}