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Aggregate API

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The data source used to drive visualizations is the Aggregate API. It can be used to flexibly generate aggregated views of the data by applying filters and grouping criteria.

This API is heavily based on OLAP concepts, and the documentation assumes you know how we store data.

Basic call and parameters

GET /api/2/aggregate?dataset=<dataset>

Calls will return aggregation results as JSON. If no arguments other than the dataset are given, the whole cube is aggregated. The following parameters are supported:

  • dataset (required) The dataset name to query.

  • measure The name of the measure over which aggregation will be performed. Defaults to amount.

    Multiple measures in a single query are supported, separated by a pipe character: measure=amount|budget (sums up the amount measure and the budget measure).

  • cut Filter the entries to use only a part of the cube. Only cells matching all the criteria given will be used. With cut=time.year:2009, you can filter for an attribute value.

    Multiple filters can be given separated by a pipe character: cut=time.year:2009|category.name:health. If two different filters are applied to the same attribute, the query will include both results: cut=time.year:2009|time.year:2010 The dimensions you use for cut will be part of the returned result.

  • drilldown Dimension to be drilled down to. Each drilldown will split the result set to create a distinct result (cell) for each value of the dimension or attribute in drilldown.

    For example, drilldown=time.year will return all entries in the source data broken down by year. Multiple drilldowns can be combined: drilldown=year|category will return one cell for each year/category combination.

  • page Page number for paginated results. Defaults to 1.

  • pagesize Size of a page for paginated results. Defaults to 10000.

  • order List of attributes to be ordered by as a combination of criterion:dir pairs. The indicated direction is either asc for ascending order or desc for descending order. For example, order=year:asc|category:asc sorts by year and then by category name.

The API itself is inspired by DataBrewery Cubes, with which we aim to be compatible. At the moment, we only implement the aggregate call of this API and do not support hierarchical dimension queries in the same way.

Result format

The result will contain two keys, summary and drilldown. The summary represents an aggregation of the whole cuboid specified in the cut. The amount given is the sum of all drilldowns.

The drilldown contains a cell for each value of each drilled-down dimension. Cells include the values of any attributes or dimensions which served as drilldown criteria, as well as the cut attributes.

{
  "drilldown": [
    {
      "volume": {
        "name": "section-i",
        "label": "PARLIAMENT"
      },
      "amount": 267770600.0,
      "num_entries": 46
    },
    {
      "volume": {
        "color": "#FF8C00",
        "name": "section-ii",
        "label": "COUNCIL"
      },
      "amount": 705435934.0,
      "num_entries": 26
    },
  ],
  "summary": {
    "amount": 973206534.0,
    "num_drilldowns": 2,
    "num_entries": 72
  }
}

JSON is the default format but results of the aggregation can also be downloaded as a csv file. Just add format=csv to the URL parameters to fetch them as a csv file.

Example: Where Does My Money Go?

To highlight the use of this API, let’s look at the UK Country Regional Analysis dataset. This is a high-level survey of the UK budget, and the original Where Does My Money Go? page was based on this data.

The first call we’ll make will aggregate the complete dataset and give us a total sum (result):

GET /api/2/aggregate?dataset=ukgov-finances-cra

This is not very useful, however, as it includes UK spending over several years. So let’s refine our query to include only 2010 figures (result):

GET /api/2/aggregate?dataset=ukgov-finances-cra&cut=time.year:2010

Much better! Now we may want to know how these funds are distributed geographically, so let’s drill down by the NUTS names of each region of the UK (result):

GET /api/2/aggregate?dataset=ukgov-finances-cra&cut=time.year:2010&drilldown=region

Given an SVG file with the right region names, this could easily be used to drive a CSS-based choropleth map, with a bit of JavaScript glue on the client side.

Another set of dimensions of the CRA dataset is the Classification of Functions of Government (COFOG), which classifies government activity by its functional purpose. Like many taxonomies, COFOG has several levels, which we have modelled as three dimensions: cofog1, cofog2 and cofog3.

In order to generate a BubbleTree diagram, we want to break down the full CRA dataset by each of these dimensions (result):

GET /api/2/aggregate?dataset=ukgov-finances-cra&cut=time.year:2010&drilldown=cofog1|cofog2|cofog3

(Warning: this generates quite a lot of data. You may want to paginate the results to view it in your browser.)

As you can see, the aggregator API can be used to flexibly query the data to generate views such as visualizations, maps or pivot tables.

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