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.
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?
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.
The City of Helsinki has published a register of its information systems. The list comprises 843 systems, and it has been published by Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) as open data.
The information systems register contains a wide variety of data. For example, the ZIMS animal register contains the pedigree and weight of every animal at Helsinki Zoo. Piltti contains the data on contaminated soil, and Acute contains the patient data of Helsinki’s occupational health care.
Helsinki is the first city in Finland to publish a register of its information systems as open data.
Imagine a city where public decision-making is easy for all to follow and comment on using any digital channel. A solution to this challenge is being sought in Helsinki, which has long been working to unlock the data reserves related to municipal decision-making.
In September 2013, more than 1,000 sets of data had been published in the Helsinki region as open data. Open data is meant for anyone to use as they wish, and it is in a form that is easily readable by computer software.