City of Helsinki’s issue reporting API is open for developers since May 2013. The issue reporting API utilizes the Open311 standard.
The City of Helsinki is the second city in Europe to enable issue reporting API for external services, such as mobile and internet apps and external internet services. The first external service to connect to Helsinki’s feedback system is a local media house’s www.metro.fi website. This new public-private feedback channel is piloted as a part of Forum Virium Helsinki’s CitySDK project.
Unique public-private feedback channel
In the European scale, this unique and pioneering public-private feedback channel was launched during spring 2013. The Helsinki residents can now report issues from their neighborhood via the www.metro.fi web service. Journalists of the metro.fi site are forwarding the issues to the feedback core of the City of Helsinki. The pilot service has quickly received about 300 issue reports. About 95% of the received issues have been forwarded to the City of Helsinki and acknowledged by the Public Works Department.
Follow the handling process of the issues
The issue report service allows users also to follow the handling process of the reported issues. The service provides the handling status of the issue and also shows the answers and notes made by the civil servants working for the city’s Public Works Department.
Metro service can be found here.
At the moment, the API is used for sending service requests about e.g., broken street signs, potholes etc. which are typically handled by the City’s Public Works Department. The future plan is to use the issue reporting API on other feedback issues as well.
As one satisfied Helsinkian described the service after the city of Helsinki had fixed a pothole in less than 24 hours: “Incredible – it’s working.”
Watch a video about the feedback service and how things actually get fixed (only in Finnish):
Developer workshops and meet-ups
In May the City of Helsinki invited audience to hear about the new API. The audience consisted of active developers, SME’s, journalists and democracy enthusiasts. First results of the new feedback channel were presented in the meet-up and the CIO of Helsinki answered the questions about the future plans of the city’s open interfaces. Helsinki is happy to encourage developers and SMEs to an active collaboration with the city.
Issue tracking API is a great example of how cities can create new business opportunities, which benefits both the city, the developers and the citizens.
The city has already received requests about the new API and is welcoming all candidates to try and use the interface. “The aim is to be the most developer-friendly city in the world”, stated Jaakko Rajaniemi, the project designer behind the API in the city of Helsinki.
Open311 interface was founded in US by a charity programme of developers in 2010. The interface is already used across the United States. In Europe it’s already used in Bonn, Germany, which makes the City of Helsinki the second city in Europe to utilize the interface.
More info on Open311
Open311 is founded and maintained by an active group of coders and developers, which makes enhancements and updates in the interface fast and flexible. Following functionalities are provided by the API at the moment in Helsinki:
1. Listing of service request types and definitions of the additional attributes
2. Submitting service requests
3. Quering individual or multiple service requests and their descriptions and status
The issue reporting API is based on GeoReporting version 2, which is better known as Open311 specification.
Read more on Open311 at: open311.org/
You can find the City of Helsinki’s issue reporting API here.