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Open data can and should also be used for commercial purposes

Aalto University and the City of Helsinki organised an Innovative City ® seminar, Open data 2015, at the School of Business on 10 March 2015.
Project Director Sanna-Maria Marttila from  the School of Arts, Design and Architecture spoke about open cultural data.

Open data means unprocessed information in the hands of public administration, organisations, companies or private individuals, which has been opened to outsiders for unlimited, free-of-charge use.

"Open data is not the same as public information. Everyone has access to public information, in other words information that you can access via websites, for example. Open public information i.e. open data in turn means data that citizens and companies can use for their own purposes on a par with public administration", Project Manager Tanja Lahti from City of Helsinki Urban Facts outlined.

"Helsinki Region Infoshare, HRI.fi, is an open data service, a data catalogue, whose data on Helsinki and the Capital Region anyone can use freely. Geoinformation is among the most utilised material. Since Helsinki wants to be an affluent, vibrant, open and engaging city, we want to offer access to the data to others outside of the city itself", said Tanja Lahti.

Open data is useful for public administration, municipalities and companies alike. In public administration, it increases internal efficiency, municipalities experience it as increased transparency, and companies view it as an opportunity for new business and innovations.

There are many ways to use open data

Development Manager Hanna Niemi-Hugaerts brought a message from Forum Virium Helsinki to the seminar. Forum Virium Helsinki is a digital services development organisation comprised of companies and public bodies. It fosters innovation and increases awareness of Helsinki’s Smart City around the world. It has gained international recognition for its pioneering efforts in open data, smart cities and transparent decision-making, with new initiatives creating new business opportunities.

"Open data can and should also be used for commercial purposes. According to the OECD, the industries with great potential in utilising data for innovations and increasing productivity are advertising, public administration, healthcare, energy, logistics and transport", said Hanna Niemi-Hugaerts.

Niemi-Hugaerts also talked about the 6AIKA programme, the joint strategy and cooperation programme involving the six largest cities in Finland. The project focuses on open data and interfaces, open innovation platforms and open engagement.

Project Director Sanna-Maria Marttila from the School of Arts, Design and Architecture and Open Knowledge Finland ry in turn spoke about promoting open cultural data; the efforts to digitalise cultural heritage treasures.

"We organised a master class in open cultural data for Finnish cultural and cultural memory organisations to great acclaim last spring. The class provided organisations with food for thought about the more extensive use of existing cultural reserves in order to diversify services for customers and appeal to new customer groups. In addition, it offered information and tools to open their own cultural data and content", Sanna Marttila said as one interesting example of how open cultural data can be promoted.

Innovative City® is a partnership programme between Aalto University and the City of Helsinki, aimed at generating innovations that support sustainable urban development through multi-disciplinary collaboration in research, art and development.

Collaboration under the programme is based on the scientific and artistic activities of Aalto University and the development needs of the City of Helsinki. Projects related to housing, traffic, construction and ageing of city residents, among other topics, have been carried out under the programme. In addition, studies have been conducted on regional competitiveness, the management of organisations, and various service processes and their design.

The programme has been active for ten years now. It was recently revised to cover all schools of Aalto University. The programme supports the realisation of the strategic goals of Aalto University and the City of Helsinki.

The financing of the Innovative City® Partnership Programme is divided equally between the City of Helsinki and Aalto University. Support for the preparation and financing of various research, art and development projects can be applied for annually.


Further information:
Annukka Jyrämä
Specialist, docent
Innovative City® Programme
tel. +358 50 373 2238
[email protected]

 

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