Confluence Retirement

Due to the feedback from stakeholders and our commitment to not adversely impact USGS science activities that Confluence supports, we are extending the migration deadline to January 2023.

In an effort to consolidate USGS hosted Wikis, myUSGS’ Confluence service is targeted for retirement. The official USGS Wiki and collaboration space is now SharePoint. Please migrate existing spaces and content to the SharePoint platform and remove it from Confluence at your earliest convenience. If you need any additional information or have any concerns about this change, please contact Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
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The USGS Science Information Services (SIS) is looking to create a short reference sheet about APIs.

The reference sheet will be used to answer questions that come in through "Contact USGS" or "Ask USGS" paths.

CDI Members helped to add information to this list in June 2020 and we reported the info back to SIS. If you have more additions, you can add or comment on this post, or email

This activity has the added benefit of sharing information about USGS APIs to the CDI community! Thank you for any info you can share!


What is an API? 

  • USGS API website 
  • An Application Programming Interface (API) provides a developer with programmatic access to a proprietary software application. An API is software that makes it possible for application programs to interact with each other and share data. 
  • An API is simply something that sends information back and forth between a website or app and a user 


Which significant USGS databases have an API? 

USGS API website  

  • Most of the listings are very site specific and not especially useful for SIS 




These are human readable directories of REST API endpoints for Energy Geospatial Services. Under these endpoints, several APIs can be accessed individually. These are basically self documented services based on the ESRI ArcGIS Enterprise model:

This URL is an API endpoint for an undocumented soon to be published API providing programmatic access to the Public Organic Geochemistry Database:

This URL is the landing page for a well documented API providing programmatic access to the US Wind Turbine Database


Mineral Resources 

The National Map 

  • FAQ about TNM API 
  • The FAQ just sends users to the ScienceBase Catalog 
  • If you select the ScienceBase browse options, there's a menu on the left that filters by Map Services, etc. 

Science Data and Publications 

  • ScienceBase
    • Publicly exposed for public items, can use the ~REST interface for this or the sciencebasepy python package that is now indexed within pypi (pip install sciencebasepy)
    • Private (authentication) using the same methods and tools for internal use. 

USGS Thesaurus and related controlled vocabularies


Are special keys required to access any USGS APIs? Must access be requested? 

  • This is database dependent


What are the differences between Web Services, REST Services, and APIs? 


Additional things to know 

  • The USGS does not provide API training. Our specialists can only give specific advice regarding how our API works. 
  • A novice user should access data through our download clients. 


Created by Liz Colvard, 6/3/2020 

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  1. Comment received:

    An NPS Dashboard pulls from :

    • National Watershed Boundary Dataset
    • Water Quality Portal (I know that's not solely USGS, but USGS is a major cooperator)
    • National Water Information System
    • Hydro Network-Linked Data Index

    We basically hit the web services with an R script to get data in geojson format for use in our dashboard.