Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) is an online service that opens up public data to all: e.g., to citizens, businesses, universities, academies, research facilities or to municipal administration. The data opened is available free of charge at www.hri.fi.
The HRI online service, launched two years ago, has made opening up public data an integrated part of the everyday activities for many of the employees of the City of Helsinki. For the anniversary of the HRI online service, Helsinki Region Infoshare published a guidebook on opening up public data. The guidebook describes how open data has made a breakthrough in Finland and the guidebook also includes e.g., concrete tips for those planning to open up data.
More than 1000 open datasets
The HRI online service contains already more than a thousand open datasets related to the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The open data shared via the HRI web service includes e.g., statistics & estimates, geo¬spatial data, financial data, public transportation data, and public decision-making data – in fact, any type of public data. The open data offered via the online service can be freely utilized for further use, for instance to develop new mobile applications.
The benefits of open data
Open data aims at generating greater governmental efficiency, new business and innovation, higher transparency, as well as enhanced democracy. For example, many new mobile public transport applications have been created by private application developers, since the public transport operator Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) offered an open interface to its timetable and route databases. Open data is thus an enabler of new innovations.
Finnish Government joining the open data movement
Helsinki Region Infoshare was launched by four cities in the Helsinki Metropolitan area, this is Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen, and the service is coordinated by the City of Helsinki Urban Facts and Forum Virium Helsinki. The pioneer work of HRI has encouraged other Finnish cities to open up their data too (Tampere, . The Finnish Government is also initiating an open data programme read more.
Opening up public data has grown into a citizens’ movement during the latest years. In early 2013, Finnish open data activists organized themselves into a society and joined the international Open Knowledge Foundation read more.
City of Helsinki’s decision making opening up
Decisions made in the city of Helsinki are prepared and processed with the help of the so called Ahjo case management system. Now, the city’s decision-making documents are accessible to all as open data via the Open Ahjo interface. In other words, the new agendas and minutes of Helsinki’s decision-making bodies are added to the Open Ahjo interface starting in March 2013. The Mayor of Helsinki, Jussi Pajunen, sets an example in opening up data: the Mayor’s decisions will also be made available in real time through the Open Ahjo interface. Read more on Open Ahjo.
Helsinki Region Infoshare: www.hri.fi
The Helsinki Region Infoshare’s open data guidebook (in Finnish, published in April 2013) can be downloaded here.
Forum Virium Helsinki: www.forumvirium.fi/en
Text: Pauliina Smeds