What is the Finland Local Open Data Census?

The Finland Local Open Data Census is an ongoing, crowdsourced measure of the current state of access to a selected group of datasets in Finnish municipalities. Community members contribute assessments of datasets for the participating municipalities. Census content is periodically peer-reviewed by a team of volunteers and municipal officials, led by Open Knowledge Finland.

How can the results of the Finland Local Open Data Census be used?

The census is a limited benchmarking tool, enabling a comparison of open data and its progress in different municipalities. The list of datasets is not complete or completely accurate. Anyone can suggest new additions to the list. The census can also be used to promote open data to new municipalities. It provides direct examples on how other cities have opened their data.

Who’s running this?

This site and the Open Data Census platform is run by the Open Knowledge. Each individual census is run by its specific team and community who are responsible for its content and validity. In Finland, it’s run by Open Knowledge Finland with support from the community and participating municipalities. Anyone can participate by proposing new revisions for the reviewers. If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, send a message to antti.poikola@okf.fi. We are open to feedback and welcome all suggestions on improving the census.

Can the list of datasets that are surveyed be customized?

Yes, you can. The list of datasets is customizable. If you want to add more datasets or change the list of datasets you can suggest them to antti.poikola@okf.fi.

In some cases there might be older data that has been 100% perfect. For some reason data releases have stopped or quality has lowered (e.g. no open license or machine readable format) How should I add this data to the survey?

Open Data Census is preferring the current state of the data. We therefore suggest that you should review it according to the current state of the data and add possible info or links to older versions in the comment section.

Should I add datasets that are maintained by national entity for all the cities?

In some cases, the city is not the entity responsible for a dataset (for example, EVIRA releases all food safety inspection data for all the municipalities). That’s ok, we still want to know if and where those datasets are published. Be sure to note if it’s a non-city entity publishing the data.

Some datasets might be only partially opened or not complete e.g. list of public facilities. How should I add them?

This has to be reviewed case by case but as a general rule if you feel that most of the data is available you should add them as complete dataset and list imperfections in the comment section.

How reliable is the Finland Local Open Data Census?

The information in the Census is collected by open data experts and enthusiasts around the country including Open Knowledge Finland and the municipalities themselves. The Census data undergoes a process of peer review and evidence checking to improve the quality of results. That said, we rely on the contributions of local community users of government datasets, so if you see a problem please submit a comment. Contributors and Editors are also cited on each dataset submission.

Submitting information to the Census

The Finland Local Open Data Census is a survey of the state of open data around the Finland focusing on the the availability and openness of a specific set of key datasets.

What's the Finland Local Open Data Census data collection and review process?

It works like this:

  1. Contributors submit information about the availability (or not) of key datasets in their city (for example Real-Time Transit in Tampere).

  2. For edits to submissions, contributors may Propose Revisions.

  3. Reviewers (Open Knowledge Finland, Municipalities, volunteers) either approve (with or without amendments) or reject the Proposed Revisions.

  4. If approved, these Submissions become an official entry in the Census and are displayed on the website.

How can I improve the Census information about a Finnish City?

  1. If you have information about a dataset which isn't in the Census yet you can add it! Anyone can submit new information to the Census.

  2. Select your city in the overview page and click on it.

  3. Click the blue "Submit Information" button on the right next to the appropriate category.

  4. Fill the form based on the dataset you have found (there are detailed instructions on the page).

  5. Click Submit. Your submission is now waiting for review, and will be visible in the table as 'awaiting review' after a few minutes.

How can I correct an existing entry in the Census?

We welcome corrections to the Finland Local Open Data Census. Anyone can submit corrections to the Census.

  • Select your city in the overview page and click on it.

  • On the city overview page, click the blue "Propose Revisions" button on the right next to the appropriate category.

  • Fill in the form based on the changes you want to make to the existing data.

  • Click Submit. Your revision is now waiting for review, and will be visible in the table as 'awaiting review' after a few minutes.

How can I add a Finnish City to the Census?

Reach out to Open Knowledge Finland (http://okf.fi - antti.poikola@okf.fi) and we will work to include your city in the template. Each city should also choose a community point person to act as reviewer. Google or Facebook account is needed for the reviewer.

What do all the questions about the datasets mean?

When filling in information about a dataset, there's a list of questions to answer about the availability and openness of the datasets. The answers then appear in the City overview page for the Census.

Question Details
Openly licensed?

The licence must comply with the Open Definition which allows data to be freely used, reused and redistributed. The Open Definition provides a list of conformant licenses. If the data uses one of these licences, it is openly licensed. In Finland the most common licenses are the Creative Commons 4.0 (CC4.0) or Creative Commons CC0 which are part of national JHS recommendation (JHS189 The license for using open data). Cities might also have older local adaptations of the license. It's also important that the license is clearly stated for the dataset.

Licences are commonly found in:

  • the web page footer
  • a link to Terms & Conditions
  • the About section

Some licences may allow re-use and redistribution but have not been assessed as conformant with the Open Definition. In this case, seek feedback on the Open Data Index discussion forum

Is the data available for free?

The data is free if you don't have to pay for it.

Is the data machine readable?

All files are digital, but not all can be processed or parsed easily by a computer. In order to answer this question, you would need to look at the file type of the dataset. As a rule of thumb the following file types are machine readable:

  • XLS
  • CSV
  • JSON
  • XML

The following formats are NOT machine readable:

  • HTML
  • PDF
  • DOC
  • JIF
  • JPEG
  • PPT

If you have a different file type and you don't know if it's machine readable or not, ask in the Open Data Census forum

Is the data provided on a timely and up to date basis?

Is the data current for the census year? You can determine or estimate when the data was last updated and its update frequency by reviewing:

  • the metadata displayed for the data in an open data portal or web page
  • the dataset title or filename e.g. Budget 2013-14 or Election_4July2015.csv
  • metadata tags embedded in the web page that contains the data
  • date values within the data to find the most recent date value
  • the timestamp on the data file (although this may not be accurate)
  • Some data is not updated on a regular basis. e.g. Pollutant emissions may be updated daily - while postal codes may not change for many years.

You may need to use your judgement to determine if the data is timely and up to date. Document your rationale in the comments section.

If you cannot determine a date, answer, "NO" i.e. the data is not timely or up-to-date.

Available in bulk?

Data is available in bulk if the whole dataset can be downloaded easily. It is considered non-bulk if the citizens are limited to getting parts of the dataset through an online interface.

For example, if restricted to querying a web form and retrieving a few results at a time from a very large database. Most common way of supporting this is giving some kind of datadump for download which updates once per day.

Publicly available?

Can the data be accessed by the public without restrictions? Data is considered publicly available when:

  • It can be accessed online without the need for a password or permissions.
  • If the data is in paper form, can be accessed by the public, and there is no restrictions on the number of photocopies that can be made.

Data is NOT publicly available when:

  • It is only made available after making a request.
  • It was available because of FOIA.
  • It can only be accessed by government officials.
Is the data available online?

Data is online if it can be accessed via the Internet (e.g. a website or open data portal). If the data has been emailed to you but is not accessible via the Internet, it is not considered to be available online.

Does the data exist?

Data must come from an official resource either issued directly by the government or by a third party officially representing the government. Data offered by companies, citizen initiatives or any non-governmental organisation do not count for the Index.

If the government has given the right to publish the data to third parties, a submission with a link a to third party site is allowed. The third-party site must explicitly state that the data has been commissioned by the government. Check if the organization has an agreement with the government to be the official source and make a note in the comment section.

Is data in digital form?

Data can be in a digital format, but not accessible online. For example: A country budget can be stored on a spreadsheet or otherwise on a private government network, but not on the Internet. This means that the data is digital, but not publicly available. If you know that the data is digital somewhere inside the government (e.g. a government official tells you so), then you should answer "YES" to this question and note in the comment section how you discovered the data is in digital form.

How does the scoring system work?

The Finland Local Open Data Census measures the state of openness of 16 datasets for each city. The overall score for a dataset is based on the response to specific questions with varying weightings -- the weighting for each question is listed in the question table above. The overall city score is then calculated from the score on each dataset.

The score algorithm is:

If answer is "yes" to a question add the weighted value to score for that dataset

  1. Add up total scores for each dataset to get a city score

  2. As the weightings indicate, timeliness is now included with a weighting of 10.

One of the aims of the questions for each dataset is to provide an increasing set of requirements leading up to full openness (excluding ‘timely’ which is important but not a requirement for open data). It should be noted that this does not mean each question directly builds on the previous since some of are parallel (e.g. digital form and publicly available) but in general there is a progression, so "No” on an earlier question may well imply ”No” on a later question.

Where can I discuss or get help with the Finland Local Open Data Census?

You can get help by emailing antti.poikola@okf.fi or Roberto.Corsini@hel.fi. You can also discuss on the Finnish Open Data Ecosystem Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fi.okfn/

FAQ is partly based on the US City Open Data Census FAQ: http://us-city.census.okfn.org/faq/