NEON Workshop: Using the NEON API

September 29, 2017
NEON

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.

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 Battelle's office in Boulder, CO and limited to Battelle employees. A full video of the training will be available after the training and posted here.

Things You’ll Need For The Workshop

To fully participant in this workshop, we recommend you bring a laptop with the most current version of R loaded on your computer.

For details on setting up R & RStudio in Mac, PC, or Linux operating systems, please see the instructions below.

Install R Packages

Please have these packages installed and updated prior to the start of the workshop.

  • httr: install.packages("httr")
  • jsonlite: install.packages("jsonlite")
  • dplyr: install.packages("dplyr")
  • devtools: install.packages("devtools")
  • geoNEON: devtools::install_github("NEONScience/NEON-geolocation/geoNEON")

Updating R Packages

In RStudio, you can go to Tools --> Check for package updates to update previously installed packages on your computer.

Or you can use update.packages() to update all packages that are installed in R automatically.

Workshop Instructors

  • Claire Lunch; @dr_lunch, Staff Scientist, Plant Physiology; NEON project, Battelle
  • Megan A. Jones; @meganahjones, Staff Scientist/Science Educator; NEON project, Battelle

Please get in touch with the instructors prior to the workshop with any questions.

Online Tutorials

All NEON workshop materials and self-paced tutorials can be accessed via the NEON Data Skills tutorials search page.


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.

Location: Battelle's Boulder Office, Classroom

Time Topic
10:30 Begin workshop
Using the NEON API in R tutorial
12:00 End workshop

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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