FEMA needed to publish data in both human- and computer-readable formats. Our solution had to be scalable and built on open standards accessible to all users.
We used agile processes and open-source tools like Node.js and MongoDB to build the OpenFEMA API, which supports JSON and SSV data formats for all extracts and JSON and BSON for computer formats.
The OpenFEMA API is an unqualified success, handling more than 3.5 million API calls during a single month. It is cloud-based to support varying usage patterns, and the use of open-source tools reduced operating and management costs. DHS has now adopted the OpenFEMA API to host DHS data.