The past few years have seen such advances in the level of openness, transparency and efficiency within the local public administration in the Helsinki area that few would have imagined possible just a decade ago. Since 2011, when Helsinki launched its open data service HRI (Helsinki Region Infoshare), the Finnish capital has been at the forefront of European efforts to make public data available to the general public and to encourage the use of data for creating a better society.
Since then, the open data service operated jointly by four cities in the metropolitan area has published several hundred datasets for anyone to use free of charge.
It’s important for officials to have the most accurate and broad information possible about their domain of operation. In tune with this sentiment there are many ongoing ventures by the city of Helsinki and other organizations to explore new ways of collecting data, especially using distributed or moving sensing technology (ie. IoT) as well as utilizing regular people as data collectors (i.e. crowdsourcing). On 2nd of March 2017, Laituri saw a variety of speakers and crowd eager to know about the activities of the City of Helsinki that lie under these umbrella terms.
Cities possess hundreds of public spaces, premises and equipment – for example, the City of Helsinki has about 3000 buildings. Use of public spaces can be optimized but it requires real-time availability and reservation information. Now, with Helsinki’s recently opened resource reservation API, relevant information on the availability of a selection of the city’s public spaces is available.
Public spaces and resource reservation methods was the theme of first Helsinki Loves Developers open data open office in 2017. Participants brainstormed improvements to data collection methods and discussed methods for optimising collected information of available public spaces.
The text contents of the Infopankki.fi website have been opened for everyone to use through an open application programming interface (API). The website contains important information for immigrants about permit matters, working life and entrepreneurship, studying Finnish, housing and living in Finland. All of the 12 identical language versions of the service are available through the API. Infopankki contains approximately 3,500 web pages.
“We hope that Infopankki materials will be used to create applications that serve the information needs of immigrants in different languages.
One of the main target groups of Helsinki Region Infoshare service is definitely students. HRI has had good cooperation with the Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences in Helsinki Region during the last years. This autumn HRI had a great cooperation with the Application Development Project course organized by the Metropolia University of Applied Science. The aim of this course is to create a proven business case with the developed application. The contribution of HRI was to enhance the utilization of open data in these business cases and applications.
Are you looking into transforming your business, services or customer base? Could open data bring much needed added value to either your business or directly to your customers?
Now it’s the perfect time to grasp the many opportunities on offer from the six largest cities in Finland (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku, Oulu)!
1. Valueable data is waiting for your use!
Your business already has completely free access to datasets opened up by the six largest Finnish cities and other public administrative bodies.
Do you want to create an application that helps the everyday lives of people living and working in the cities? Or help them actively participate in the development of their city? Or do you have ideas about how digital services could help organisations base their decisions more and more on accurate information? Now is your chance to get creative!
Open data idea and solution competition starts now!
The six largest cities in Finland (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu) want to support the development of new user based services by arranging an open data innovation competition.
As the first city in the world to do so, Helsinki has simultaneously introduced two 3D city models covering the entire city: a smart semantic city information model and visually high-standard reality mesh model. The models are being released as open data.
A semantic city information model is more than a three-dimensional image on a computer screen. The model objects contain property data about themselves. By means of semantics, the computer understands, for example, which elements describe the roof or walls of the building.
As most of us know, coding is a busy business. New ideas, feature requests, crucial hotfixes, standard bugfixes and a number of other issues pile up in addition to planned projects and sprints. Therefore, when developing an API for your own use, you are usually satisfied once you get it to work the way you want, and move on to the next pressing thing to do. After all, we are using our own API, why should we bother with systematic specification and documentation of the features we know and are able to check from the source code whenever we want?
Almost 1300 datasets in January, around 600 in February and now the counter on the frontpage of HRI shows 549. Good grief, has HRI begun deleting data? Not exactly, but a large operation of re-organising HRI’s datasets, which involved combining and harmonising datasets where possible. No data has been lost, the previous 1300 datasets are now available in larger packages.
At the start of the year, HRI began the large task of clarifying the contents of its data catalog, which involved combing through smaller datasets and combining them into larger packages.