Being a city coder entails much more than just hammering away at ready-made Github issues. On the contrary, it is increasingly becoming a process of service design, starting from trying to figure out basic service needs and expectations, and constantly and iteratively honing the service with the actual end users. Increasingly our end products are not code, but actually the Github issues that somebody else will end up coding and we will end up reviewing.
Therefore, trying to further our expertise on the whole process of service design, the Open Software Development team made a trip to our dear close neighbor Stockholm, which hosted the EuroIA 2017 conference bringing together information architects and UX designers all over the world over three days of interactive workshops as well as shorter talks and presentations.
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.
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.
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.
Well-formed data at rest is as close to perfection in programming as it gets. All the crap that had to happen to put it there however..
Rufus Pollock from Open Knowledge Foundation visited our Helsinki ❤︎ Developers meeting during OKF’s MyData conference. He introduced us to the idea of frictionless data; making open data easier to discover, use and understand. Basically is a way to describe data using machine readable, yet lightweight and even human writable format based on JSON and bundles it alongside a universally supported format for data: comma separated file, CSV.
This review is based on a systematic mapping of existing research reports, websites and interviews of experts in the field of open data, conducted at City of Helsinki Urban Facts (Helsinki Region Infoshare) during the summer 2014. The analysis focused on city level. Firstly, the study proposes open data to be approached and analysed from the perspective of its benefits. Secondly, it indicates that still uncovered opportunities of open data could be identified and utilised better. Finally, the study emphasises impacts of open data and suggests some future trends.
What kind of people work with public open data? What is my role at HRI? What do I actually do every day? These are just a few of many questions that I get asked about my job by friends and family. This blog entry will address these pertinent questions and it will provide a short summary of my academic and professional backgrounds before dwelling on the experiences I have gained from working with open data at the Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) service.
Public open data is quickly becoming the new “oil” of the 21st century; it largely drives the development of new apps and businesses while simultaneously increasing the reach and transparency of democracy. These new methods of thinking and sharing information are helping to boost the economy and society forwards. This article briefly highlights the current developments in the field of open data. It also provides an international snapshot of useful open data apps in the hope of generating and sharing ideas with open data enthusiasts in Finland.