About Helsinki Region Infoshare

Description of the Helsinki Region Infoshare Service

Cities continuously collect and produce large quantities of data which are utilised in the planning, production and decision-making processes. It is also utilised in the evaluation of municipal activities. Traditionally, this data has only been in the city’s internal use but since 2011 metropolitan cities have been opening this data.

HRI - 2 years of open public data publication

Helsinki Region Infoshare has published a guide book which provides stimuli for unlocking public data as well as tells how the open data has made it´s the breaktrough in the public administration in Finland.

Open data increases citizens’ knowledge and understanding of their living area, its history and future development. This increases the overall activity, participation and interaction of citizens. Open data can be seen as a facilitator for creating new services and business opportunities, as well as supporting research and development. The value of public data increases the more it is used.

The Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) service aims to make regional information quickly and easily accessible to all. Essentially, HRI is a web service for fast and easy access to open data sources between the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen. The data published is mainly statistical, giving a comprehensive and diverse outlook on different urban phenomena, such as living conditions, economics and well-being, employment and transport. A good proportion of the data material offered by the service is GIS based.

The data can be used in research and development activities, decision-making, visualization, data journalism and in the development of apps. The data may be used by citizens, businesses, universities, academies, research facilities or municipal administration. The data on offer is ready to be used freely at no cost. There are no limitations on users; anyone interested in open data can participate.

For example, existing open data has already been utilized in different ways. Take a look at the HRI app gallery (mainly in Finnish) for an overview of apps and services created with the use of open data.

There are four operational areas in which the HRI service mainly operates in:

  1. Producing data
  2. Opening data
  3. Sharing data
  4. Utilising data

The main operational activity is to support the producers of information in opening their data and to increase its utilization by multi-channel communication. More information about the operational areas can be found here.

Financing & realization

The HRI service is funded by the cities of Espoo, Helsinki, Vantaa and Kauniainen, as well as the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. The Finnish Ministry of Finance has also supported the service in the project planning phase through a municipality cooperation grant.

The operative execution of the service is managed by a directive board formed by the funding and executive parties of the service, as well as City of Helsinki Urban Facts and Forum Virium Helsinki.

Forum Virium Helsinki was particularly responsible for the project planning phase during 2010-2013, as well as implementing sub-projects and coordination. In 2014, operational coordination is the responsibility of City of Helsinki Urban Facts under close cooperation with Forum Virium Helsinki.

Brief history of HRI service

The concept for the Helsinki Region Infoshare service started in early 2010 and planning commenced in June 2010. The first version of the web service was brought online in March 2011. Following the release, the project advanced according to user-based testing and learning. By 2012, the web service offered a wide range of data on the Helsinki regional area and its localities. During 2013, the target was to open more data and to establish the HRI web service as a part of the municipalities’ normal operations. This goal has been achieved by the start of 2014; the HRI-service has become a part of normal municipal operations.

Data formats

The data can be downloaded as files and is also available as raw data via various network services or technical interfaces.

  • Downloadable file formats are generally XLS, PC-AXIS or CSV files.
  • Data for map materials may be available in KML or GML format.
  • Data available via technical interfaces may be in JSON or XML format.