NEON @ ESA: Using the NEON API

August 07, 2017
Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) provides open ecological data from over 80 locations across the United States. These data are available both on the NEON data portal and through the NEON Application Programming Interface (API). The API allows direct programmatic access to data and metadata in the NEON database, enabling automation and instantaneous updating of code and models. Come to this workshop to learn to navigate the NEON API. NEON scientists will demonstrate how to use the API, focusing on access via the R package httr, but also covering the general API structure. Attendees are encouraged to bring laptops and code along with the demonstration.

Required Prior Knowledge

Basic familiarity with R is recommended; no previous experience with APIs needed. The demonstration materials will also be made available online.


This 1.5-hr workshop will be taught at the 2017 meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) in Portland, OR. You must be a registered attendee of the conference. For more information, visit the ESA 2017 annual meeting website.


Additional Set Up Resources

Setting Up R & RStudio

Windows R/RStudio Setup

Once R and RStudio are installed, click to open RStudio. If you don't get any error messages you are set. If there is an error message, you will need to re-install the program.

Mac R/RStudio Setup

  • If your Mac is set up for UiO use, you can install R from Managed Software Center

  • Go to CRAN and click on Download R for (Mac) OS X

  • Select the .pkg file for the version of OS X that you have and the file will download.
  • Double click on the file that was downloaded and R will install
  • Go to the RStudio Download page
  • Under Installers select RStudio 0.98.1103 - Mac OS X 10.6+ (64-bit) to download it.
  • Once it's downloaded, double click the file to install it

Once R and RStudio are installed, click to open RStudio. If you don't get any error messages you are set. If there is an error message, you will need to re-install the program.

Linux R/RStudio Setup

  • R is available through most Linux package managers. You can download the binary files for your distribution from CRAN. Or you can use your package manager (e.g. for Debian/Ubuntu run sudo apt-get install r-base and for Fedora run sudo yum install R).
  • To install RStudi, go to the RStudio Download page
  • Under Installers select the version for your distribution.
  • Once it's downloaded, double click the file to install it

Once R and RStudio are installed, click to open RStudio. If you don't get any error messages you are set. If there is an error message, you will need to re-install the program.

Workshop Schedule

Location: B115, Oregon Convention Center Please double check the conference schedule as rooms may change!

Time Topic
11:30 Begin workshop
Using the NEON API in R tutorial
13:15 End workshop

Online Tutorials

All NEON workshops and self-paced tutorials can be accessed via the NEON Data Skills resources.

Tutorial: Using the NEON API in R

You can choose to do this optional data activity (opens in a new window), or continue to the next lesson plan.

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