Get Started with bcdata

The bcdata R package contains functions for searching & retrieving data from the B.C. Data Catalogue.

The B.C. Data Catalogue is the place to find British Columbia Government data, applications and web services. Much of the data are released under the Open Government Licence — British Columbia, as well as numerous other licences.

You can install bcdata directly from CRAN:

install.packages("bcdata")

library(bcdata)

bcdc_browse()

bcdata::bcdc_browse() let’s you access the B.C. Data Catalogue web interface directly from R—opening the catalogue search page in your default browser:

## Take me to the B.C. Data Catalogue home page
bcdc_browse()

If you know the catalogue “human-readable” record name or permanent ID you can open directly to the record web page:

## Take me to the B.C. Winery Locations catalogue record using the record name
bcdc_browse("bc-winery-locations")

## Take me to the B.C. Winery Locations catalogue record using the record permanent ID
bcdc_browse("1d21922b-ec4f-42e5-8f6b-bf320a286157")

bcdc_get_data()

Once you have located the B.C. Data Catalogue record with the data you want, you can use bcdata::bcdc_get_data() to download and read the data from the record. You can use the record name, permanent ID or the result from bcdc_get_record(). Let’s look at the B.C. Highway Web Cameras data:

## Get the data resource for the `bc-highway-cams` catalogue record
bcdc_get_data("bc-highway-cams")
#> # A tibble: 894 x 17
#>    links_bchighwaycam  links_imageDisplay links_imageThumbn… links_replayTheDay    id highway_number
#>    <chr>               <chr>              <chr>              <chr>              <dbl> <chr>         
#>  1 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     2 5             
#>  2 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     5 3             
#>  3 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     6 16            
#>  4 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     7 1             
#>  5 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     8 1             
#>  6 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     9 19            
#>  7 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    10 97            
#>  8 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    11 1             
#>  9 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    12 1             
#> 10 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    13 99            
#> # … with 884 more rows, and 11 more variables: highway_locationDescription <chr>, camName <chr>,
#> #   caption <chr>, credit <chr>, orientation <chr>, latitude <dbl>, longitude <dbl>,
#> #   imageStats_updatePeriodMean <chr>, imageStats_updatePeriodStdDev <dbl>, updatePeriodMean <dbl>,
#> #   updatePeriodStdDev <dbl>

## OR use the permanent ID, which is better for scripts or non-interactive use
bcdc_get_data("6b39a910-6c77-476f-ac96-7b4f18849b1c")
#> # A tibble: 894 x 17
#>    links_bchighwaycam  links_imageDisplay links_imageThumbn… links_replayTheDay    id highway_number
#>    <chr>               <chr>              <chr>              <chr>              <dbl> <chr>         
#>  1 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     2 5             
#>  2 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     5 3             
#>  3 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     6 16            
#>  4 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     7 1             
#>  5 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     8 1             
#>  6 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     9 19            
#>  7 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    10 97            
#>  8 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    11 1             
#>  9 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    12 1             
#> 10 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    13 99            
#> # … with 884 more rows, and 11 more variables: highway_locationDescription <chr>, camName <chr>,
#> #   caption <chr>, credit <chr>, orientation <chr>, latitude <dbl>, longitude <dbl>,
#> #   imageStats_updatePeriodMean <chr>, imageStats_updatePeriodStdDev <dbl>, updatePeriodMean <dbl>,
#> #   updatePeriodStdDev <dbl>

## OR use the result from bcdc_get_record()
my_record <- bcdc_get_record("6b39a910-6c77-476f-ac96-7b4f18849b1c")
bcdc_get_data(my_record)
#> # A tibble: 894 x 17
#>    links_bchighwaycam  links_imageDisplay links_imageThumbn… links_replayTheDay    id highway_number
#>    <chr>               <chr>              <chr>              <chr>              <dbl> <chr>         
#>  1 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     2 5             
#>  2 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     5 3             
#>  3 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     6 16            
#>  4 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     7 1             
#>  5 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     8 1             
#>  6 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…     9 19            
#>  7 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    10 97            
#>  8 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    11 1             
#>  9 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    12 1             
#> 10 http://images.driv… http://images.dri… http://images.dri… http://images.dri…    13 99            
#> # … with 884 more rows, and 11 more variables: highway_locationDescription <chr>, camName <chr>,
#> #   caption <chr>, credit <chr>, orientation <chr>, latitude <dbl>, longitude <dbl>,
#> #   imageStats_updatePeriodMean <chr>, imageStats_updatePeriodStdDev <dbl>, updatePeriodMean <dbl>,
#> #   updatePeriodStdDev <dbl>

A catalogue record can have one or multiple data files—or “resources”. If there is only one resource, bcdc_get_data() will return that resource by default, as in the above bc-highway-cams example. If there are multiple data resources you will need to specify which resource you want. Let’s look at a catalogue record that contains multiple data resources—BC Schools - Programs Offered in Schools:

## Get the record ID for the `bc-schools-programs-offered-in-schools` catalogue record
bcdc_search("school programs", n = 1)
#> List of B.C. Data Catalogue Records
#> Number of records: 1
#> Titles:
#> 1: BC Schools - Programs Offered in Schools (txt, xlsx)
#>  ID: b1f27d1c-244a-410e-a361-931fac62a524
#>  Name: bc-schools-programs-offered-in-schools
#> 
#> Access a single record by calling `bcdc_get_record(ID)` with the ID from the desired
#>  record.

## Get the metadata for the `bc-schools-programs-offered-in-schools` catalogue record
bcdc_get_record("b1f27d1c-244a-410e-a361-931fac62a524")
#> B.C. Data Catalogue Record: BC Schools - Programs Offered in Schools
#> Name: bc-schools-programs-offered-in-schools (ID: b1f27d1c-244a-410e-a361-931fac62a524)
#> Permalink: https://catalogue.data.gov.bc.ca/dataset/b1f27d1c-244a-410e-a361-931fac62a524
#> Sector: Education
#> Licence: Open Government Licence - British Columbia
#> Type: Dataset
#> Description: BC Schools English Language Learners, French Immersion, Francophone, Career
#>  Preparation, Aboriginal Support Services, Aboriginal Language and Culture, Continuing
#>  Education and Career Technical Programs offered in BC schools up to 2013/2014.
#> Available Resources (2):
#>  1. ProgramsOfferedinSchools.txt (txt)
#>  2. ProgramsOfferedinSchools.xlsx (xlsx)
#> Access the full 'Resources' data frame using:
#>  bcdc_tidy_resources('b1f27d1c-244a-410e-a361-931fac62a524')

We see there are two data files or resources available in this record, so we need to tell bcdc_get_data() which one we want. When used interactively, bcdc_get_data() will prompt you with the list of available resources through bcdata and ask you to select the resource you want. The resource ID for each data set is available in the metadata record ☝️:

## Get the txt data resource from the `bc-schools-programs-offered-in-schools`
## catalogue record
bcdc_get_data("b1f27d1c-244a-410e-a361-931fac62a524", resource = 'a393f8cf-51ec-42c6-8449-4cea4c75385c')
#> # A tibble: 16,152 x 24
#>    `Data Level` `School Year` `Facility Type` `Public Or Independ… `District Numbe… `District Name` 
#>    <chr>        <chr>         <chr>           <chr>                <chr>            <chr>           
#>  1 SCHOOL LEVEL 2005/2006     STANDARD        BC Public School     005              Southeast Koote…
#>  2 SCHOOL LEVEL 2006/2007     STANDARD        BC Public School     005              Southeast Koote…
#>  3 SCHOOL LEVEL 2007/2008     STANDARD        BC Public School     005              Southeast Koote…
#>  4 SCHOOL LEVEL 2005/2006     STANDARD        BC Public School     005              Southeast Koote…
#>  5 SCHOOL LEVEL 2006/2007     STANDARD        BC Public School     005              Southeast Koote…
#>  6 SCHOOL LEVEL 2007/2008     STANDARD        BC Public School     005              Southeast Koote…
#>  7 SCHOOL LEVEL 2008/2009     STANDARD        BC Public School     005              Southeast Koote…
#>  8 SCHOOL LEVEL 2009/2010     STANDARD        BC Public School     005              Southeast Koote…
#>  9 SCHOOL LEVEL 2010/2011     STANDARD        BC Public School     005              Southeast Koote…
#> 10 SCHOOL LEVEL 2011/2012     STANDARD        BC Public School     005              Southeast Koote…
#> # … with 16,142 more rows, and 18 more variables: School Number <chr>, School Name <chr>,
#> #   Has Eng Lang Learner Prog <lgl>, Has Core French <lgl>, Has Early French Immersion <lgl>,
#> #   Has Late French Immersion <lgl>, Has Prog Francophone <lgl>,
#> #   Has Any French Immersion Prog <lgl>, Has Any French Prog <lgl>, Has Aborig Supp Services <lgl>,
#> #   Has Other Appr Aborig Prog <lgl>, Has Aborig Lang And Cult <lgl>, Has Continuing Ed Prog <lgl>,
#> #   Has Distributed Learn Prog <lgl>, Has Career Prep Prog <lgl>, Has Coop Prog <lgl>,
#> #   Has Apprenticeship Prog <lgl>, Has Career Technical Prog <lgl>

Alternatively, you can retrieve the full details of the available resources for a given record as a data frame using bcdc_tidy_resources():

## Get a data frame of data resources for the `bc-schools-programs-offered-in-schools`
## catalogue record
bcdc_tidy_resources("b1f27d1c-244a-410e-a361-931fac62a524")
#> # A tibble: 2 x 8
#>   name       url                  id          format ext   package_id      location bcdata_available
#>   <chr>      <chr>                <chr>       <chr>  <chr> <chr>           <chr>    <lgl>           
#> 1 ProgramsO… http://www.bced.gov… a393f8cf-5… txt    txt   b1f27d1c-244a-… external TRUE            
#> 2 ProgramsO… http://www.bced.gov… 1e34098e-7… xlsx   xlsx  b1f27d1c-244a-… external TRUE

bcdc_get_data() will also detect if the data resource is a geospatial file, and automatically reads and returns it as an sf object in your R session.

Let’s get the air zones for British Columbia:

## Find the B.C. Air Zones catalogue record
bcdc_search("air zones", res_format = "geojson")
#> List of B.C. Data Catalogue Records
#> Number of records: 1
#> Titles:
#> 1: British Columbia Air Zones (shp, kml, geojson)
#>  ID: e8eeefc4-2826-47bc-8430-85703d328516
#>  Name: british-columbia-air-zones
#> 
#> Access a single record by calling `bcdc_get_record(ID)` with the ID from the desired
#>  record.

## Get the metadata for the B.C. Air Zones catalogue record
bc_az_metadata <- bcdc_get_record("e8eeefc4-2826-47bc-8430-85703d328516")

## Get the B.C. Air Zone geospatial data
bc_az <- bcdc_get_data(bc_az_metadata, resource = "c495d082-b586-4df0-9e06-bd6b66a8acd9")

## Plot the B.C. Air Zone geospatial data with ggplot()
bc_az %>%
  ggplot() +
  geom_sf() +
  theme_minimal()

plot of chunk air_zones

Note: The bcdata package supports downloading most file types, including zip archives. It will do its best to identify and read data from zip files, however if there are multiple data files in the zip, or data files that bcdata doesn’t know how to import, it will fail.

bcdc_query_geodata()

Many geospatial data sets in the B.C. Data Catalogue are available through a Web Feature Service. While bcdc_get_data() will retrieve the geospatial data for you, sometimes the geospatial file is very large—and slow to download—and/or you may only want some of the data. bcdc_query_geodata() let’s you query catalogue geospatial data available as a Web Feature Service using select and filter functions (just like in dplyr. The bcdc::collect() function returns the bcdc_query_geodata() query results as an sf object in your R session.

Let’s get the Capital Regional District boundary from the B.C. Regional Districts geospatial data—the whole file takes 30-60 seconds to download and I only need the one polygon, so why not save some time:

## Find the B.C. Regional Districts catalogue record
bcdc_search("regional districts administrative areas", res_format = "wms", n = 1)
#> List of B.C. Data Catalogue Records
#> Number of records: 1
#> Titles:
#> 1: Regional Districts - Legally Defined Administrative Areas of BC (other, xlsx, wms,
#>  kml)
#>  ID: d1aff64e-dbfe-45a6-af97-582b7f6418b9
#>  Name: regional-districts-legally-defined-administrative-areas-of-bc
#> 
#> Access a single record by calling `bcdc_get_record(ID)` with the ID from the desired
#>  record.

## Get the metadata for the B.C. Regional Districts catalogue record
bc_regional_districts_metadata <- bcdc_get_record("d1aff64e-dbfe-45a6-af97-582b7f6418b9")

## We can see in the search results, and in the metadata record, that this record has a `"wms"`
## resource format, indicating that it is available as a Web Feature Service and thus
## we can query it using `bcdc_query_geodata()`

## Have a quick look at the geospatial columns to help with filter or select
bcdc_describe_feature(bc_regional_districts_metadata)
#> # A tibble: 21 x 5
#>    col_name       sticky remote_col_type local_col_type column_comments                             
#>    <chr>          <lgl>  <chr>           <chr>          <chr>                                       
#>  1 id             FALSE  xsd:string      character       <NA>                                       
#>  2 LGL_ADMIN_ARE… FALSE  xsd:decimal     numeric        "An operationally-generated unique identifi…
#>  3 ADMIN_AREA_NA… TRUE   xsd:string      character      "The authoritative, officially approved nam…
#>  4 ADMIN_AREA_AB… TRUE   xsd:string      character      "A short form or commonly-known acronym for…
#>  5 ADMIN_AREA_BO… TRUE   xsd:string      character      "BOUNDARY TYPE is a high-level grouping of …
#>  6 ADMIN_AREA_GR… TRUE   xsd:string      character      "The name given to the larger administrativ…
#>  7 CHANGE_REQUES… TRUE   xsd:string      character      "The government acronym of the Ministry or …
#>  8 UPDATE_TYPE    TRUE   xsd:string      character      "A short description of the latest alterati…
#>  9 WHEN_UPDATED   TRUE   xsd:date        date           "The date and time the record was last modi…
#> 10 MAP_STATUS     TRUE   xsd:string      character      "That the digital map has been appended to …
#> # … with 11 more rows

## Get the Capital Regional District polygon from the B.C. Regional
## Districts geospatial data
my_regional_district <- bcdc_query_geodata(bc_regional_districts_metadata) %>%
  filter(ADMIN_AREA_NAME == "Capital Regional District") %>%
  collect()

## Plot the Capital Regional District polygon with ggplot()
my_regional_district  %>%
  ggplot() +
  geom_sf() +
  theme_minimal()

plot of chunk regional_districts

The vignette Querying Spatial Data with bcdata provides a full demonstration on how to use bcdata::bcdc_query_geodata() to fine tune a Web Feature Service request for geospatial data from the B.C. Data Catalogue.