Description of the Helsinki Region Infoshare online service
What is the Helsinki Region Infoshare online service?
The service can be used for finding government information generated by the authorities in the Helsinki Region as open data.
The service includes data from available data pools and controls the creation of user data. The data is maintained by the authorities that provide it, generally via their own servers.
Users of the service can submit feedback on the data pools, participate in discussions on the data pools and submit requests to publish new materials as open data.
The service also provides current information on the progress of the Helsinki Region Infoshare project, as well as experiences of the project and general information concerning open data.
Who is the service for?
The service is open to everyone, and no registration is required to use it.
The service is aimed particularly at those who:
- require statistical and forecasting data
- apply and develop applications for data
- are interested in the opportunities provided by open data
What can I access via the service?
The service offers mainly statistical and forecasting data, but also other materials, such as map-based data, timetable information for public transport, library catalogues, city service point registry data, etc.
Is ‘open data’ the same thing as ‘public information’?
Open data is not exactly the same thing as public information. Open data is easier to handle and utilise, for example in producing specialised web applications.
The key things about open data are its broadly permissive terms and conditions of use, and its format and structure, which enable the data to be processed easily in computer applications.
What is it possible to do with open data?
The data can be used in many different ways, such as monitoring, analysing, and visualising events, decisions, issues, and more.
Users with a technical background and application developers can build specialised applications and services based on the data.
Who produces the open data that is available?
In the preliminary phase, the principal providers of open data are the information services departments of the cities in the Helsinki Region, but in the future there will be more data generated by other public authorities available.
Municipal authorities often use data received from national authorities and other bodies as sources for the data they generate. These national authorities include such bodies as Statistics Finland.
What format is the data available in?
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.
Why is some of the data available in formats that are difficult to process via computer?
In the initial phase, the data is provided in the format in which the authorities currently generate their information. For example, some statistical tables are prepared primarily for publications (i.e. people), so it is more complicated to process them by computer.
Statistical tables are, however, valuable content produced by public authorities, and they are in a format that is easy for people to understand and use, e.g. in decision-making or for fact-checking.
The objective is to provide data on the online service in a more structured format in the future. Then it will be easier to process the data for different purposes.
How can I use the service to find open data?
The service has a term search, which you can use to search for a particular subject.
You can also use filters to restrict your search to a particular geographical area or file format, or particular keywords.
There are also search filters with which users can restrict their search to a particular geographical area or file format, or using particular keywords.
Clicking on the search results displays more detailed metadata for the desired material.
The metadata contains information about the data pool, such as:
- title and description
- a link to further information about the material
- a link to the location of the data
- name and contact details of the producer and maintainer of the material
- a link to the terms and conditions of use of the material
- a list of the sources used in the material
You can access the data by downloading a file to your computer, by transferring it to an external network service from which you can pick up the data manually, or by calling up a programming interface provided by an external network service.
How can I give feedback on a data pool?
Every data pool description has a facility that lets you give a score for that material. You can also give a written comment about the material. You can submit scores and comments anonymously, and this feedback is visible to all users of the service.
You can submit feedback or questions via the service directly to the maintainer of the data pool via a form. This feedback goes directly to the email of the authority that maintains that data pool, and is not visible to other users of the service.
Where can I find some examples of applications or other products that utilise data found on the service?
There is a section of the service that presents some applications or other products that have been created using open data.
In addition, each data pool includes information of whether there are any applications that utilise data from that source.
Where can I suggest some ideas for improving the functionalities and information content of the online service?
You can make suggestions in the discussion area of the service for what you’d like to see in the online service and its content in the future. Come and join in the discussion!