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
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 20:04
  • 2
    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
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 20:15
  • Any specific type of data? Why are you asking this question? I smell an X-Y problem...
    – user4293
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 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
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 12:27

6 Answers 6


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
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 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? Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 14:39
  • This link is dead Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 6:13

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
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 6:07
  • The links to data are dead and other than perhaps through a sales team the (mobile) site does not appear to have a path to open data. - I understand money need to be made but please open at least 1 datastream completely to avoid this kind of message from being seen as an irrelevant ad Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 6:18
  • Links don't work. Chrome says ssl certificate is invalid.
    – jbx
    Commented Jan 30, 2022 at 12:56

Not sure if this meets your definition of open, but for future readers like me who just want some free datastreams that continuously get updated I can recommend Twitter. It has a fair amount of free messages per second coming through, and only charges for additional capabilities (such as the full data, or filtering).

As an additional advantage for those who want to try out streaming: there are many open tools with standard solutions available for ingesting and parsing Twitter, so it might provide a nice starting point. I have used both Python and Nifi before. (Mandatory disclosure: Nifi is open source, but I am affiliated with it).

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