Director Generals of the National Land Survey of Finland

Arvo Kokkonen Director General, 2012-

Jarmo Ratia, Director General, 1991-2012
Born 24 January 1947

Jarmo Ratia was born in Helsinki, took his matriculation examination in Korpilahti in 1965, completed a Master of Laws degree in 1968 and trained on the bench in 1974. Ratia joined the National Land Survey in 1968, moved to the National Board of Waters in 1970 and from there to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in 1972, where he headed a Water District Office in 1974-1983. Between 1983 and 1991, Ratia worked as Chief Director and Acting Director General at the National Board of Waters (later called the National Board of Waters and the Environment).

Ratia has been the Director General of the National Land Survey since 1991, except for a period of seven months in 1999-2000, when he worked as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Ratia has acted, for example, as an extraordinary Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court, Chairman of the Finnish-Norwegian Transboundary Water Commission, Chairman of the Finnish-Norwegian Demarcation Delegation, and as the Finnish representative on the Board of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund. In addition, he has spoken at numerous international conferences and meetings.

Ratia has participated in the preparation of legislation related to his field in dozens of committees, commissions and working groups. He was the President of the European Committee of Official Cartography Representatives (CERCO, today known as EuroGraphics), and represented these national mapping agencies on the Board of the European Umbrella Organisation for Geographic Information (EUROGI). In 1999-2000, Ratia acted as a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Focal Point for land administration issues in the Balkans, especially in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (including Kosovo) and in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. At the beginning of 2004, Ratia was invited to represent Europe on the Board of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association (GSDI). Ratia has participated actively in the expert meetings of the European Union, and in cooperation in with the Nordic countries and with the neighbouring areas.

Karvinen Pauli, Director General, 1 August 1999 - 29 February 2000
Born 24 April 1945

Lauri Kantee, Director General, 1972-1991
1 January 1925 - 25 May 2002

Surveyor, D.Sc. (Tech.). Worked during major restructuring of the National Land Survey. Kantee initiated programmes in different areas: general reform of the Real Estate Formation Act, computerisation of registers, and the transfer of the handling of expropriations to the National Land Survey. Development of training. Nordic cooperation initiated. Kantee considered international contacts as extremely important. Prolific writer.

Viljo Niskanen, Director General, 1960-1972
15 June 1910 - 10 February 1986

Surveyor, Lic. Tech., LL.M. Headed the reorganisation of the National Land Survey, fought for a monthly salary for surveyors. Government Councillor at the Ministry of Agriculture. Taught at the Helsinki University of Technology. While Director General, acted as referendary at the Supreme Court.

Väinö V. Seppälä, Director General, 1950-1960
12 April 1897 - 27 December 1989

Surveyor, Justice of the Supreme Court. Took part in the implementation of the rapid resettlement of displaced persons. Drafted a plan on the relocation of the displaced rural population. Well-liked and respected leader within the National Land Survey. Appointed as Justice of the Supreme Court in 1960.

Väinö Ahla, Director General, 1929-1950
4 November 1890 - 4 July 1977

Surveyor, Justice of the Supreme Court. Acted as chairman and member of the committees preparing the protection of fields, the emergency resettlement of Karelian evacuees, the Land Acquisition Act, the Partition Act and the Partition Decree. Represented Finland in the demarcation proceedings with Sweden. Ahla was a typical civil servant of his time, even when he acted as Director General. Appointed Justice of the Supreme Court in 1950.

Kyösti Haataja, Director, 1917-1929
19 February 1881 - 10 July 1956

Surveyor. Professor, J.D. Initiated and implemented the parcelling of land in the liberation of tenant farmers. Renewed the administration and compensation of officials. Reorganised mapping duties: The Geodetic Institute for the triangulation network and the Topographic Department for topographic measurement (later becoming the Topographic Service of the Finnish Defence Forces). In 1918, member of a committee that drafted a proposal on a Land Settlement Board. Took part in the preparation of land partition legislation. Appointed Professor of Commercial Law in 1930.

Otto Sarvi, Director, 1915-1917
2 July 1864 - 6 September 1917

PhD. Before receiving his post, directed the work of the Geographical Department of the Board of Land Survey. As a member of the Committee of the Geographical Society of Finland, took part in the drafting of the Atlas of Finland published in 1899. Had to resign from his post because of differences in opinion between top management and officials that mainly resulted from the political climate of the time.

Jaakko Sjölin, Director, 1887-1915
19 December 1836 - 18 March 1916

Surveyor. Was recognised both by the professional community and by the state for his work on the development of land survey. In 1882, translated into Finnish the land survey regulations of 1848. Produced a new glossary of land survey terminology in Finnish. Took part in the drafting of the new Partition Act in 1900.

Berndt Otto Nymalm, Director, 1872-1887
8 February 1818 - 17 June 1887

Surveyor. Made a long career in land survey.

Claes Wilhelm Gyldén, Director, 1854-1872
12 May 1802 - 16 March 1872

Surveyor. Director of the Board of Land Survey and Forestry as of 1 March 1854. First surveyor since Nordenstedt. Acting Director in 1845-1847. The Board of Forestry was established in 1863 after his initiative. In addition to his normal duties, Gyldén developed the National Land Survey considerably through his publications. Member of the construction board of the Helsinki-Hämeenlinna railway. Publications: Map of Finland, Map Collection of Finnish Towns (1845), Historiska anteckningar om städerna i Finland (1845), Relief Map of Finland (1850), "Lakes and Rivers of Finland" in the book Finland, and General Map of the Board of Land Survey.

Alexander Rechenberg, Director, 1847-1854
27 October 1812 - 5 March 1858

Captain. Served in the Topographic Service in Orenburg. Was a member of the committee that drafted a proposal for a new Forest Act. Retired to become Governor of the Province of Vaasa in 1854.

Jonas Ferdinand Bergenheim, Director, 1843-1845
5 January 1796 - 6 November 1847

Colonel. Assigned to the Board of Land Survey in 1838. Applauded for his zeal and expertise. Represented the provinces of Oulu, Kuopio and Viipuri in the border dispute with the Olonets Governorate. Resigned to become the Governor of the Province of Vaasa in 1845. Publications: Military-scientific and statistical account of Vltava and Wallachia.

Carl Gustaf Tawaststjerna, Director, 1828-1843
7 June 1774 - 11 April 1855

Lieutenant-Colonel, member of the Field Survey Corps of the Russian Army. Acting Director of the Board of Land Survey as of 1 December 1828, and Director as of 20 November 1832. Resigned on 17 May 1843. Publications: Föreläsningar i topografi. Lärbok i landmätningen.

Abraham Joachim Molander, Director, 1821-1828
6 March 1771 - 22 February 1847

Major and teacher of field survey in the Army. Head Survey Office moved from Turku to Helsinki. Energetic and skilled director, who dared to admit that he did not know everything about the work carried out at the National Land Survey. Became Vice-Governor of Kyminkartano in 1828 and Governor of the Province of Mikkeli in 1830.

Abraham Nordenstedt, Director, 1812-1820
21 December 1764 - 28 January 1820

The first Director of Land Survey, appointed on 24 July 1812.
Surveyor by profession. Competent and energetic director, who developed the land survey in Finland considerably. Was previously in the service of the Land Survey Office of Sweden-Finland (1783-1798), and was appointed to the Head Office of the National Land Survey in Stockholm to handle matters related to Finland. The regulations of the Head Survey Office of the Grand Duchy of Finland were ratified on 14 November 1812.