X-Road

The X-Road project was launched by the Estonian government in the 1990's to create a secure and standardized environment for interconnection or enabling data exchange between a multitude of different information systems

X-Road

The X-Road interoperability platform is comprised of the core technology (Unified eXchange Platform), integration interfaces (portals, adapters etc), trust services, and the surrounding regulatory framework.

The X-Road was initiated by the Estonian government in the 1990’s to create a secure and standardised environment for governmental interoperability, enabling secure data exchange between the information systems and databases of different organisations. The first version was developed by Cybernetica and launched in 2001.

The goal of the X-Road project was to build a core infrastructure that would allow interoperability between state registries without compromising the security of the data and with capability of organic integration with existing systems. Similar issues are faced in countries all over the world, who are on the road to becoming a digital society. Cybernetica has focused on bringing our decades of expertise all around the world via the UXP technology, currently enabling e-Government services for more than 35 million people across continents.

.X-Road has transformed the way of thinking about business processes – instead of thinking about documents and certificates moving between organizations, the processes are built on the assumption that the data needed to make a decision can be queried directly from the authoritative source, 24/7. The focus is on digital services that can be used for registry queries, database updates and exchanging digital documents. Because all the messages exchanged over the X-Road carry legal electronic seal, the organizations can use the received data knowing that its origin can always be verified and used as a proof in court of law.

The X-Road framework is one of the drivers that has catapulted Estonia to top of various e-government rankings. X-Road is a solid backbone that has enabled creation of various innovative e-solutions.

  • Citizen portal acts as a one-stop shop to government e-services starting from various information queries and ending at submitting applications (such as applying for child benefits and municipal day care) and exchanging documents with government agencies.
  • Estonian e-health system connects hospitals, clinics and other organizations to implement unified Electronic Health Record that supports health care by supplying medical practitioners with detailed information about patient’s health all the while protecting their privacy.
  • The e-prescription system allows doctors to create prescriptions and make them immediately available to pharmacies. The patient can call the doctor and receive the medicine directly from pharmacy without having to visit the doctor for paper-based prescription.
  • The E-File is an information system that manages court proceedings of various types. The E-File system uses X-Road to connect business processes of court, police, public prosecutors, prisons, lawyers and ordinary citizens.
  • The e-police system provides the police officers access to state registers such as vehicle register, document register. For example, the police can use this system to check whether a suspiciously behaving vehicle is reported as stolen. Due to the ubiquitous access to up-to-date information, Estonian citizens do not need to carry a driver’s license or vehicle documents as such information is verified online directly from the source.

The following video helps you understand X-Road in two minutes.

X-Road is secure, reliable and simple

The X-Road system uses the Unified eXchange Platform technology and contains its own Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) that guarantees confidentiality, integrity and traceability of the exchanged data.

X-Road is designed to satisfy the security requirements of the inter-organizational communication by ensuring the

  • authenticity, integrity and non-repudiation of exchanged data,
  • high availability of services,
  • confidentiality of exchanged data.

Implementation of X-Road is extremely straightforward from organisation information system side. All you need is support for web-services – in fact X-Road is just transparent and secure layer connecting different services in different systems.

There is no central gateway or hub in X-Road. All connected organisations could communicate directly. This kind of architecture makes system more secure and reliable – no single points of failure or attack exist.

X-Road statistics

  • In active service since 2001
  • Over 2000 services
  • Over 900 connected organizations, public registers and databases
  • Over 500 million transactions per year (2015)

additional information

Visit the Estonian Information System’s Authority website (www.ria.ee).

Visit the Gateway to eEstonia.