University of Oulu

Use of public sector’s open spatial data in commercial applications

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Author: Vuorio, Riikka1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Pages: 49
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : R. Vuorio, 2013
Publish Date: 2014-01-17
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Markkula, Jouni
Reviewer: Markkula, Jouni
Kinnula, Marianne


The objective of this study was to analyse how young Finnish information technology (IT) companies utilize the public sector’s open spatial data. The aim was to find out to what extent companies use public sector’s open spatial data in products and how companies are using it. In addition, defects related to data and its use and companies’ awareness of public sector open data were canvassed. Defects and unawareness might prevent or retard the utilization of public sector’s data.

Public sector is collecting vast amount of data from various areas when performing public tasks. The major part of the data is spatial, meaning the data has a location aspect. Public sector is opening the data for everybody to use freely and companies could use this open spatial data for commercial purposes. High expectations have been set for the data opening: along with it, innovations and business — new companies and digital products — will be created.

The European Union has promoted greatly the public sector data opening with its legislative actions. First with the PSI directive (directive on re-use of public sector data) and later with the INSPIRE directive (directive on establishing and Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community). The both directives are aiming to facilitate the re-use and dissemination of public sector data, whereas the INSPIRE directive has focused on the use of interoperable spatial data by creating the spatial data infrastructure. Even if the developments are still on going, these undertakings have already created possibilities for companies to use public sector data. This applies especially to the spatial data.

This study was quantitative by nature and the empirical data for the study was collected through online survey, which was targeted to randomly selected Finnish IT companies established during the years 2009–2012. Data was analyzed by descriptive statistics. The results can be generalized to the whole target population in Finland.

The results of this study shows that the number of companies utilizing public sector’s open spatial data is small and the public sector’s open spatial data has not yet enabled establishing of new companies. However, companies have developed few new products with the contribution of public sector’s open spatial data and the value of the data for the products is not minor.

The thesis concludes that there is a need for greater investment in promoting the public sector’s open data amongst companies: the awareness of public sector’s open spatial data could be increased. In addition, coverage of datasets and interface services could be improved. Perhaps by eliminating these defects, the number of utilizers of public sector’s open spatial data would increase. Now there is a quiet sign of awakening of the business to utilize public sector’s data.

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Copyright information: © Riikka Vuorio, 2013. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.