As far as I can tell open data is mostly offered as some kind of file download, that contains the complete data set. I'm aware of some Web services, e. g. World Bank API, that allow you to feed a subset of data into your application, but I do know just one real-time open data feed, namely earthquake data from the USGS.

Do you know and have you used any other real-time open data feeds?

  • 1
    Be aware that 'real time' has a specific meaning in some communities regarding latency. The data I deal with generally isn't available for 10-15 minutes due to downlink times & processing, so is considered to be NRT (near real time), not 'real time'. (and that's when it's on time ... we sometimes have delays of a day or more) – Joe Jul 5 '13 at 20:04
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    Right real-time is a fuzzy term the way it's used in the web context. Data updated every few minutes is definitely interesting for me. Most of the open data sources I'm aware of are updated far less frequently. – ramiro Jul 5 '13 at 20:15
  • Any specific type of data? Why are you asking this question? I smell an X-Y problem... – Jan Doggen Oct 16 '15 at 9:46
  • @JanDoggen I wasn't looking for a specific type of data, but for a source of data that I could use in an interactive that is continuously updated. – ramiro Nov 23 '15 at 12:27

You can find a wealth of government APIs at the Data.gov developer page.

As far as real-time nature of the data feeds, the APIs vary in their update frequency. For example, flight status from the FAA updates every 10 - 15 minutes:

  • Cool thanks! I'll dig into this wealth of resources. – ramiro Jul 5 '13 at 20:06

I've recently started using Exversion to find open data. They're effectively a search engine for it, and they have a fairly robust API that lets you play around with whatever you're looking for.

As far as real time data, that's tough, I know NOAA publishes this, the FAA, voting data is live during election night, and there are a few others, like the Earthquake data, but it's far and few between.

Hope that helps.


A number of municipalities have implemented the Open311 protocol, which allows near-realtime access to municipal service requests.

A list of known installations: http://wiki.open311.org/GeoReport_v2/Servers


It takes a while before an API evolves a community and demand for real-time. Some APIs and their topic immediately demand the need for real-time. Twitter, Chat, etc.

I'm more seeing API driven real-time platform evolve that you can use as layer on top of existing APis to get the real-time features you need.

I'm tracking these providers like Pusher and SuperFeedr, you can see full list at my Real-Time @ API Evangelist.

  • Perhaps you can expand to show some additional examples from your new work in the US government? – Jeanne Holm Aug 21 '13 at 14:39

I work for OpenSensors.io - we're partnered with the Open Data Institute and are building a real-time Open Data exchange that anyone can publish to, use, reuse and share the data. You can also get sensor data in a real-time firehose.

For example, Earthquake data: https://opensensors.io/orgs/EMSC

Transport data: https://opensensors.io/orgs/TFL

Weather data: https://opensensors.io/orgs/metoffice

Air Quality data: https://opensensors.io/orgs/London-Air-Quality-Network

All open data projects are free, there is a small charge for keeping your data private.

Hope that helps,


  • Please disclose your affiliation, and also consider writing a more detailed answer. – philshem Mar 21 '15 at 6:07

May I suggest Webhose.io which provides direct access to live data from hundreds of thousands of forums, news and blogs. I'm its founder & CEO, so you can ask me anything about our service.

  • The free quota is 1000 requests per MONTH, which is demo access and NOT an open data portal. – philshem Apr 15 '15 at 12:38

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