Five years ago, four Finish cities decided to work together and to communally start to open up their data. Since 2011 the shared portal of these cities (Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen) has grown to 1,200 Open Data records in a number of fields. To illustrate the diversity, information on all concerts of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra since 1882, the investments of the city of Vantaa and all food establishments in Helsinki are all to be found on the portal.
The strong backing of Open Data by the local authorities has already led to the creation of a number of very interesting applications. For example the application BlindSquare, shown in this video, uses publicly available information to help enable visually impaired citizens to go out and explore the city. Another way the publication has created direct benefits is by enabling locals to track the movement of snowploughs on their phone. Information which is of particularly use to them considering the Nordic climate in the region. Although handy apps for citizens are always welcomed, the publication of Open Data also serves as a tool to enhance the transparency of public decision making.
By sharing knowledge publicly, the citizens' trust in local administration has improved. According to an estimation by the city itself, opening up has already saved 1-2 percent of its budget, thanks to better background knowledge when realising projects. Want to know more about the Open data developments in the Helsinki Region? Find out by following the link below.