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Good News from Finland - Open data creates life-simplifying apps

Cities are constantly gathering and producing immense amounts of information. What if all that data were up for grabs for anyone to use?

The Helsinki Region Infoshare service has opened the capital region’s data for everyone, and gives rise to apps and services that make everyday life easier.

Transparent decision making

Creating neat apps to ease the life of urban city dwellers is not the only aim behind open data access. It also makes decision making transparent and thus improves democracy.

“Making lots of our city purchase data public opened up a new view for citizens into city administration, and it increases people’s trust toward the city and its officials,” says project manager of Helsinki City Urban Facts Tanja Lahti.

The city has also estimated that opening up the data has resulted in 1–2 per cent savings, because projects are now undertaken with more background knowledge.

But what if someone abuses open data? The fear that officials might be feeling is understandable, since they cannot know beforehand how the information is going to be used. However, not a single case of misuse has been reported.

Being this open means a big shift in attitudes in the cities’ administration, but for those officials having mixed feelings about openness Lahti has an answer:

“The information belongs to the citizens.”

Written  by: ILKKA PERNU

Photography & videoALEKSI POUTANEN


The article was originally posted on Design Stories from Helsinki

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