Why is it important to make data openly available?

There are several reasons for pooling all open data into one central hub to make it available to the general public and to facilitate searches. Freely available open government data can contribute to:

What is open data?

Open data refers to raw data in machine-readable format that has been made publicly available online without any restrictions from copyright or patents on use or distribution. In general, if regulations do not prescribe any fees for data retrieval, the data is available free of charge and without any restrictions on access.

What kinds of data can be found here?

In Estonia, all datasets created by government agencies and local authorities are to be made public and registered in the Open Government Data Portal, provided that their publication is not expressly prohibited and that they contain no personal data. Datasets that contain both personal and other data, shall be made publicly available only in the portions that do not contain personal information. More specifically, datasets that are made publicly available should contain data that is either created, collected or administered by government agencies or local authorities. If it serves the public interest, government agencies or local authorities may, upon agreement, make publicly available also any data related to third parties. Such datasets may include, for example, collections of sample contracts, regulations, correspondence metadata, budgeting files, statistical data, databases/registries converted into publicly readable formats or web platforms for retrieving data. Although individual databases are usually seen as separate datasets, it is not reasonable to view individual contracts, regulations, etc. as separate datasets.

In the technical sense, the dataset that is to be made publicly available can be either in a format of a collection of human-readable text files (e.g. a collection of legal regulations, official notices/announcements, contracts, etc.) or machine-readable data (e.g. databases or web services exported in CSV or XML formats that allow for searching and downloading of all data contained within the dataset in either json or XML formats).

How to use open data?

Datasets that have been made publicly available can be used for various purposes. For example, trend analyses of policy areas within a specified time frame, comparing the datasets from different government agencies and departments to generate new relationships and potentially even new information, etc. All interested parties, possessing relevant technical capacity, can use the publicly available raw data to create useful and interesting applications and services for the larger public.

Where to find additional information?

Please refer to supplementary materials that can be found under menu heading ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. If you have specific questions, feel free to contact us directly (see Contacts page).

European Union Regional Developmen Fund

The Open Data Portal's content is created as part of the EU structural funds' programme "Raising Public Awareness about the Information Society" financed through the EU Regional Development Fund.