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Development projects for core geospatial data

Updated and high-quality core geospatial data is important for the functioning of society. The National Land Survey of Finland (NLS) is developing the production of core geospatial data through different development projects. Descriptions and key contact details of current projects are presented on this page.

Current development projects

You can find current development projects and their contact people in the list. Information about the progress of the projects is provided on the NLS website and in NLS social media channels. We will also host various events to tell you more about the projects. You can also check what is happening at the NLS in the Newsroom.

Automation in topographic data production

The NLS Advanced Technology for National Map Updating (ATMU) project develops automated interpretations of changes in topographic features based on machine-learning methods. Simply put, a machine is taught to interpret any changes in aerial photos and laser scanning data, such as new or demolished buildings. The project, funded by the Ministry of Finance, will continue until the end of 2022. 

The project will helps us improve the efficiency of topographic data production and keep buildings, roads and channels updated in the National Topographic Database.

Having up-to-date road data is critical for rescue activities and is important for the development of logistics services and automated transport. More accurate data is also needed in building the 5G network. Modelling waterflows, or having more precise data on the location of hydrological features (rivers, channels and ditches), and flow volumes can be used to reduce and predict any adverse impact of climate change.

The project produces openly accessible training material for teaching AI, a quality test, and recommendations for deploying technologies based on machine-learning methods in topographic data production.

The project is being carried out with NLS topographic data production, the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI), and specialists from different fields. Furthermore, the project is cooperating with Finnish partners and Nordic land survey agencies.

Additional information:

  • Lingli Zhu, project manager
  • Christian Koski, researcher (channel networks)
  • Heli Laaksonen, Head of Cartography
  • Sakeri Savola, administrative project manager

The email address format is

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Modernisation of the topographic data production system

The modernisation of the topographic data production system started in 2021. This system modernisation is very significant for the NLS. The new system will collect and update data in the National Topographic Database and produce general map products. New requirements for the production of topographic data include the processing of 3D data, the lifecycle management of topographic features, and the use of analytics tools that make data updates more effective.

The new topographic data production system of the NLS will be based on open-source technologies. With this decision, the NLS is also promoting the goal set in the Government programme to give open-source code a priority in public data systems.
The deployment of the system is expected to take several years.

Read more:

Additional information:

Risto Ilves, Head of Development,

Modernisation of map products

We have launched a project to modernise NLS map products, because the development of the National Topographic Database requires changes in the content and structure of topographic data. The goal is for map products to be more suitable for a digital operating environment than at present. The product range continues to include the familiar topographic map, background map and plain map.

In the project, we are developing the data content and visual appearance of map products. In particular, we will improve the readability of topographic maps by easing the visual load. Users will have access to vector-based map data generalised per scale layer and to style files in accordance with different map products.

As part of this modernisation, we will improve the efficiency of the map production process especially by developing the automated generalisation of map data. Automation helps us keep smaller-scale map layers better updated.

During development, we will listen to map users and map application developers, analyse different use cases, and collect feedback on plans.

This modernisation will benefit all map users. The modernisation of map products is a multi-year project.

Additional information:

Paula Ahonen-Rainio, senior specialist,

Joint Lidar processing platform for the public sector

This project is building a platform for processing denser laser scanning data produced in the national laser scanning programme.

One of the current challenges is that the management and maintenance of denser laser scanning data requires the resourcing of working hours and capacity services, and leads to overlapping work in different organisations. It is difficult to develop a dialogue and the exchange of information on processes and method development between data users.

The goal of the project is to build a joint Lidar processing platform for the contracting parties, on which up-to-date and nation-wide dense laser scanning data can be processed efficiently, taking any use restrictions and overall safety into account. The platform will enable learning between the parties and the sharing of data, processes and processed products with data users.

Continuing until the end of 2022, the project will be followed by the maintenance phase.

Additional information:

Juha Kareinen, senior specialist,

Mammutti project

Land-use and cover data is produced by several organisations, and decentralised and incompatible data have been a problem for years. Carried out in 2021 and 2022, the Mammoth project will investigate the situation involving datasets, identify any shortcomings and problems, and create a management model in which the roles and processes of different organisations have been identified.

The NLS participates in the project which is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute, and which is part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s extensive Catch the Carbon research and innovation programme.

Additional information: Ulla Pyysalo, senior specialist,