Frequently Asked Questions

Open Data service

What is open data?

Open data is openly licensed information in a machine-readable format. An open licence grants permission to use the data freely for any purpose. Open data can be population census data, maps, or even real-time data about the locations of buses. Read more about open data or browse our datasets.

Why should I use Open Data service? Why wouldn't I just create my own open data portal?

Using an existing portal saves you money that can instead be spent on opening data or increasing the quality of open data. The point of Open Data is to offer a free platform for publishing open data for all ministries, municipalities, associations, companies and private individuals.

Data published on Open Data will also gain international exposure, as all data on our website is harvested by the European Data Portal and is thus also available on their website.

Does Finnish open data have international publicity?

All data on Open Data service is harvested by the European Data Portal. Through this, Open Data service, and the entire country, gets international exposure. Additionally, Finland's open data portal is compared to other countries' yearly (e.g. EU Open data maturity, Open Data Barometer), and Finland has succeeded well in these comparisons.

How is Open Data service developed?

Open Data is developed by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. The service is developed with a user-first mentality using the methods of agile software development.

We aim to develop the service in close cooperation with our users. Before implementing new features or improvements, we always consider what benefits the user would get from the implementation, and which of the tasks at hand would most benefit the user.

We update all new improvements and features to Open Data as soon as they are finished. Thus the service is truly developing at all times.

Stay updated on what is happening in the service and its development by following us on Twitter @avoindatafi

Who is responsible for the service?

Open Data is being developed by Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

Who publishes data on the service?

Anyone can upload open data datasets to Open Data service. Most of the datasets on the service are published by different government agencies, municipalities, and other public administration organisations. Different kinds of companies, associations, and private individuals can also publish open data on Open Data service.

Who is responsible for the contents of the service?

Publishers are responsible for their datasets – they make sure their data is up to date and correct.

Open Data is produced by Digital and Population Data Services Agency. Service administrators are responsible for removing inappropriate content, updating the user guide and the development of the service. You can give feedback about the service using the contact form.

Using Open Data service

Do I need to register in order to use the service?

No. You can browse and download datasets as well as subscribe to dataset updates from Open Data without registration.

Registration is required only if you want to add datasets to the service, become a member of an organisation, or manage datasets.

I need help using the service. What should I do?

Our guide and FAQs are meant for exactly these kinds of situations! You can search for the information you need from the guide and the FAQs using the guide search. If you cannot find what you’re looking for, you can contact the service administrators using the contact form — we’re happy to help.

I noticed that there's something missing from the guide. What should I do?

Contact the service administrators using the contact form. Tell us what is missing from the guide, and where you think that information should be. The service is being continuously improved, and feedback is always welcome!

I found a link that does not lead anywhere. What should I do?

Contact the service administrators and tell us which link is not working correctly.

If it’s a data resource link, or other link in a dataset, contact the dataset’s publisher. The service is being continuously improved, and feedback is always welcome!

Do you offer statistics about the service?

You can see different statistics about the service on the Statistics-page. For example, you can find the most popular search terms and most viewed datasets, as well as most popular publishers. You can see statistics about a single dataset or data resource from the sidebar on their pages.


How do I find data on the service?

You can either browse data freely or use the search on the front page to find specific datasets, publishers or showcases. With the advanced search you can filter the search results by file format, license, and other criteria.

How do I find data published by other other countries?

Open Data service is meant primarily for sharing Finnish open data.

European Data Portal harvests and lists European open data portals.

Why can I see more datasets when I'm logged in?

When you’re logged in, you can also see the private datasets from your organisations. Private datasets are hidden from users that are not members of the publishing organisation. Datasets can be private for example if they are not yet ready to be published.

What are private datasets?

If a dataset is not yet ready to be published, the publisher can set the dataset to be private. This can be done if the dataset is missing some information or the publisher is testing how datasets are added to the service.

Note that all datasets belong to some organisation and that all organisation members are able to see the its private datasets.

I noticed a mistake in a dataset, what should I do?

Contact the dataset’s maintainer and tell them which dataset has a mistake and what kind of mistake it is.

You can contact the maintainer via email by using the Feedback button located on the right side of the page or by copying their email address from the Additional info section of the dataset.

You can also contact them using the Disqus-forum at the bottom of the page.

What are data categories and how do I edit them?

Data categories are a way of classifying open data into different themes, such as transport or environment and nature. Each dataset belongs to at least one category, which makes finding data easier.

You can find the categories Open Data uses on the Data categories -page.

You can edit the categories your datasets belong to on the dataset's page in the Categories tab. Select the categories that you feel best describe the dataset and select Save.

Managing datasets

What kind of statistics can I see about my own datasets?

You can see the amount of views and downloads of each dataset on their own pages. Additionally, you can find for example the most downloaded datasets on the Statistics-page.

All users can see all the statistics about the datasets.

Can I use Scandinavian letters in my resource links? / Does Open Data support IDNA?

You cannot use Scandinavian letters in the links to your data resources since the CKAN platform our service is built on does not support Scandinavian characters (or IDNA). You can still use Scandinavian letters in file names and dataset titles.


I created a new organisation but it is not visible in the service. What should I do?

Your organisation is waiting for the service administrators to accept it. You will get an email when your organisation has been accepted and you can add datasets to it.

If you have not gotten a confirmation email about creating an organisation or if your organisation is not visible in the service even though it has been accepted, please contact the service administrators.

I sent a membership request to be an admin for an organisation using the email Why has my request not been accepted?

Please use your work email whenever you are requesting a membership in your workplace organisation. This way the admins can be sure that you actually work in the organisation.

It might take a while to accept the request. Each organisation’s admins are responsible for their organisation’s membership requests. If the organisation does not have an admin, or if the admin does not accept the request within a reasonable time frame, the service administrators can accept it. If you know who is the admin of the organisation, contact them first.

If your request has not been accepted within a reasonable time frame, or if you are in a hurry, you can contact the service administrators.

If your membership request was denied and you do not know why, contact the service administrators.

Person X no longer works in the organisation. What should I do?

If the person has been a member of your publishing organisation, you can remove the person from the organisation using the Members-tab on your organisation’s page. You must be an Admin-member in the organisation to manage its members’ rights as well as remove members. If the person who no longer works there was the only admin in your organisation, contact the service administration and explain the situation.

What kind of statistics can I see about my own publishing organisations?

What does the regional coverage of my organisation mean and how do I edit it?

The regional coverage defines how large of an area the publisher’s data covers.

You can change the regional coverage on your organisation’s page by selecting Manage and editing the selection in Regional coverage / Producer type.


What does harvesting mean?

Harvesting refers to the automatic gathering of data from different websites to one place, like Open Data.

Open Data harvests for example Helsinki Region Inforshare (HRI), which means that all of HRI’s data can also be found up-to-date on Open Data. Harvesting makes it easier to find data, since you can search for data from one place rather than multiple different websites.

The harvester only copies the metadata and links to data resources to Open Data.

What does it mean that my data is being harvested?

If we are harvesting your service, your data will be copied automatically to Open Data, usually once a day. This means that users can find your data from Open Data service in addition to your own service. The harvester only copies the metadata and links to data resources to Open Data. This means that you can still maintain the datasets and data resources on your own service and Open Data will not have any copies of your data that you would have to maintain.

If you make changes to your datasets in your own service, the changes will be updated to Open Data during the next harvest job.

If you want us to harvest your data, contact the service administration.

All data on Open Data will also be harvested to European Data Portal.

Which services does Open Data harvest?

Open Data is harvesting other Finnish data portals, such as HRI and SYKE (Finnish Environment Institute). You can find all the services we are currently harvesting on our Harvesting-page.

Is Open Data service being harvested somewhere?

Yes, all datasets on Open Data are being harvested to European Data Portal. European Data Portal harvests all open data portals in the EU area, including Open Data.