Modernizing state data transfer via web API

Jason Edwards

The Pacific Recreational Fisheries Information Network (RecFIN) and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recently modernized their data transfer procedures to utilize a web application programming interface (API). This upgrade will provide accurate and seamless data sharing between WDFW and RecFIN, ensuring data integrity and improving data availability to RecFIN data users.

A web API is simply an access point to receive information from a database. In general, a client sends the API a request for data, and the API returns information from the database as a result. The client does not interact directly with the database, and the API is configured to provide only the relevant information, enhancing efficiency and security of the data transfer. In our case, RecFIN requests Biological Data System (BDS) records from WDFW, and the API responds by providing data from the WDFW database. The BDS data is then transferred automatically into the RecFIN database and is made available to data users via the RecFIN APEX reporting system.

The implementation of a web API-based data upload protocol has facilitated the automation of the entire data transfer procedure for BDS data between WDFW and the RecFIN data environment. The upload application uses scheduled, stored jobs to request and transfer BDS data from WDFW to RecFIN. The automated procedure eliminates manual data processing steps previously performed by RecFIN and WDFW personnel, decreasing staff workload and maintaining data quality. Additionally, reduced data processing time and scheduled data updates will improve reporting timeliness and provide RecFIN users with more up-to-date information for data analyses, stock assessments, and management decisions.

This project builds upon previous work conducted by WDFW and PacFIN, that developed similar web API data transfer applications to upload commercial BDS data to the PacFIN database. Moving forward, RecFIN and WDFW plan to incorporate all WDFW marine recreational data streams into the web API framework. This will directly benefit WDFW and RecFIN, and the application will provide a proof of concept for the future implementation of web APIs for data transfer between RecFIN and the other West Coast states. Also, the results and methodology may be applicable to other regional FINs in the NOAA Fisheries system.

For more information regarding the RecFIN/WDFW web API, please contact Jason Edwards.