Open Data Service
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Open Data Service

The Open Data Service (ODS) is Java server application which can collect data from multiple sources simulataneously, process that data and then offer an improved (or "cleaned") version to its clients.

It is currently actively being used for gathering water level information about rivers and Germany and by the Android application Pegel Alarm (available also on GitHub).


The ODS is divided into a number of gradle modules:

  • server: the main server application, built using Dropwizard
  • models: domain models
  • client-retrofit: a Java client implementation for the REST API of the ODS


The ODS uses Apache CouchDb as its underlying data storage. In oder to run the ODS you will need to have CouchDb setup.

To configure the ODS copy server/ods-configuration.yml.template to server/ods-configuration.yml and supply the missing values:

  • gcmApiKey: the ODS allows clients to receive updates about new data via Google Cloud Messaging (GCM). To enable this feature you will need to enter your GCM Api key here
  • couchdb username and couchdb password: admin credentials for CouchDb
  • auth: the ODS supports two types of authentication mechanisms: basic (username + password) and via Google's OAuth
    • basic: to add users which use basic auth simply add the corresponding details to the users section under auth
    • OAuth: to setup OAuth you will need to create a new project in the Google Developer Console and one client id for a web application (that is the ODS) and additional client ids for each client that should communicate with the ODS. Then copy the created client ids to googleOAuthWebClientId and googleOAuthClientIds respectively.

Once done you should be able to run

./gradlew run (Windows users use the .bat version)

which first downloads all required dependencies and then starts the ODS. The server should be be running at http://localhost:8080/ods/api/v1.


The ODS uses a REST API for communicating with clients of all kinds, be it end users or admins. The basic usage of the api follows the template /someObjects/{objectId}/someProperty and is always relative to the base url you have defined in the ods-configuration.yml file.

The two 'concepts' that are most important in the context of the ODS are sources and filter chains.

Sources are available at /datasources and represent a collection of data, meta data, filter chains and update listeners.

Filter chains are located 'below' sources at /datasources/{sourceId}/filterChains and represent processing chains which fetch, manipulate and finally store data on the ODS.

To get a feeling for how this API works and which parameters are supported, you can

  • take a look at the implementation of the REST api
  • have a look at this Postman collection
  • or start working with the Java client implementation (see below)

In order for the Postman collection to work, Postman needs to know a couple of things (e.g. passwords, urls, etc.), which can be set by importing a so called environment file that looks like this:

	"id": "b9d8ff70-9540-e7c6-e423-d8cd74d9c6e3",
	"name": "localhost",
	"values": [
			"key": "ods_base_url",
			"value": "http://localhost:8080/ods/api/v1",
			"type": "text",
			"name": "ods_base_url",
			"enabled": true
			"key": "ods_admin_username",
			"value": "",
			"type": "text",
			"name": "ods_admin_username",
			"enabled": true
			"key": "ods_admin_password",
			"value": "admin123",
			"type": "text",
			"name": "ods_admin_password",
			"enabled": true
	"timestamp": 1429550360212,
	"synced": false,
	"syncedFilename": ""

To import those variables, save the above JSON in a file and click the environment button at the top of Postman.

Client implementation

If you want to start working the ODS and don't mind Java, you can use the client lib that comes with the ODS. The library was created using JaxRs2Retrofit and is available on bintray. For gradle builds:

repositories {

dependencies {
  compile 'org.jvalue.ods:client-retrofit:0.1.3'

For an example usage please refer to the test cases or take a look at Pegel Alarm.

Test cases

The are two types of tests in this repo: unit tests and integration tests. The unit tests are available under {module}/src/test and can be run via ./gradlew test and the integration tests can be found at {module}/src/integrationtest and can be run via ./gradlew integrationTest. Please note that the integration tests assume that CouchDB and the ODS are running locally with default settings.

Health checks

The ODS has a number of health checks which ensure that a running instance of the ODS conforms to the requirements of the Pegel Alarm application. To see the output of those health checks simply go to /{adminContextPath}/healthcheck. The default config for localhost is http://localhost:8081/healthcheck.


Copyright 2014-2018 Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Affero General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Affero General Public License along with this program. If not, see