Frequently Asked Questions

The open data portal is intended to serve as a platform for the dissemination of data by public bodies and for searching and retrieving such datasets by open data users.

On the open data portal, it is possible:

  • To search and download open data;
  • To publish new open data: to gain access to this functionality, a prior registration with the portal's administrator is required;
  • To use it as a storage of datasets by government agencies and local authorities;
  • To search and use applications created on the basis of open data;
  • To post news, questions and instructions pertaining to open data and to have discussions on relevant topics.

Opening up data and their collection, storage and dissemination serves the following important goals:

  • to stimulate economy by the re-use of data;
  • to increase the transparency of the public sector;
  • to decrease the number of information requests and, consequently, also reduce the workload of public sector workers;
  • to facilitate creation and management of open services for private and community sectors;
  • encourage migration to future technologies such as linked data, "Internet of Things" and "big data".

The publication of data created by public sector bodies serves many purposes, most importantly allowing private individuals, companies and third sector bodies simply to examine the existing data or to use it in their software applications to create value added.

All datasets which are created by government agencies and local authorities, whose public use is not directly forbidden and which contain other data than personal data are to be made public. If the datasets contain both personal and non-personal data, only the non-personal parts of the data will be made public.

In particular, the data in the datasets to be published should in general be created, collected or administered by a government agency or local authority. A government agency or a local authority may, with the consent of a third party, also publish the data of that third party if it considers it to be of sufficient interest to the public.

Two goals must be balanced while publishing datasets:

  • the data presentation should be convenient and understandable for the users;
  • the data publisher should be able to publish data with ease and minimal effort.

Public sector data shall be considered open if it is made public in a way that complies with the principles below: ):

1. Complete
All public data is made available. Public data is data that is not subject to valid privacy, security or privilege limitations.
2. Primary
Data is as collected at the source, with the highest possible level of granularity, not in aggregate or modified forms.
3. Timely
Data is made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data.
4. Accessible
Data is available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes.
5. Machine Readable
Data is reasonably structured to allow automated processing.
6. Non-discriminatory
Data is available to anyone, with no requirement of registration.
7. Non-propietary
Data is available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control.
8. License free
Data is not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret regulation. Reasonable privacy, security and privilege restrictions may be allowed.

The published data will not identify or provide ways to identify individuals, unless that information is already published (such as the names of the civil servants working at the ministries).

The open data must published under a licence which permits its free and unlimited use, processing and distribution. Under the licence, it must be possible to distribute the data at the discretion of the user either without charge or for a fee.

We recommend that you pick a Creative Commons licence, see From among the licences listed on the site, we recommend the CC by 3.0 licence:

Reuse of data for commercial purposes is permitted. We will be more than delighted if profitable services are created using our data.

As a principle, it is better to publish the data in an inconvenient format than to leave it unpublished at first and wait for a planned improvement in its encoding in the future. A published dataset can always be republished in a new and better encoding. We recommend that you publish your open data at least in a 3-star format.

The system of the Five Stars of Openness was developed in the UK by Tim Berners-Lee and we follow exactly the same scoring and goals: more stars means better format/encoding for the user. For examples and further information:

If you want to understand how to use open data, then please look here: Helsinki Region Infoshare

We use for discussing open data in Estonia opendata tracker. Here you are able to add comments, applications, blog posts, and provide suggestions/requests for new datasets.

Certainly! As the work on the project progresses, new open data will be added to the portal and the portal will also be linked to the open data portals of other countries.

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.