The National Topographic Database of the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS) is a dataset depicting the terrain of all of Finland. Its key objects include the road network, buildings and constructions, administrative borders, geographic names, land use, waterways and elevations.
The Topographic Database can be used as source data for various map products. It is suitable for use as a base map for planning land use and for carrying out various optimisation tasks and analyses.
All features of the Topographic Database are available per map sheet as GML, ShapeFile or MapInfo files, with some 3,000 files being available over the whole of Finland. The Topographic Database is also available as two GeoPackage database files.
The GeoPackage files are especially suitable for users who need the entire National Topographic Database or individual feature classes covering the whole of Finland.
The GeoPackage files are openly accessible, and their use is free of charge.
What is GeoPackage?
GeoPackage (link: https://www.geopackage.org/) is a standard of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), which defines a way for saving vector and raster data in the SQLite database.
Because GeoPackage is based on the SQLite database, the data contained by GeoPackage files can be used directly with workstation or server software. Most geospatial information software can read GeoPackage files directly. GeoPackage can also be used as a data transfer format.
The National Topographic Database’s GeoPackage database files pass the OGC’s all standard compliance tests (OGC TEAM Engine, test GeoPackage 1.2).
Benefits of GeoPackage database files
- GeoPackage is a standard. GeoPackage database files created with any software complying with the standard can be opened flawlessly using any software complying with the standard.
- No maximum file size. The size of the National Topographic Database is 105 GB, and it can be fitted in a single GeoPackage database file. Because large files are difficult to process, the GeoPackage version of the National Topographic Database comes in two files. The maximum size of ShapeFile and MapInfo TAB files is 2 GB, and there are a total of 3,000 files.The maximum size of ShapeFile and MapInfo TAB files is 2 GB, and there are a total of 3,000 files.
- Good support for GML features. GeoPackage supports nearly all features of the GML format. For example, both formats use the same names of map layers and attributes, as well as the data types of attributes. This is not possible in the ShapeFile format: for example, the maximum length of attribute names is 10 characters and only the date, not the time, can be saved from the timestamp.
- A GeoPackage database can include an unlimited number of tables. In the GML version of the National Topographic Database, each feature class is in a separate map layer. There are a total of 133 feature classes. In the GeoPackage database file, each feature class is also saved in a separate table. The Topographic Database’s ShapeFile and MapInfo TAB versions do not follow the structure of the GML version. The number of map layers has been reduced by combining feature classes, since the formats only support a single map layer in a single file.
- No character problems. As GeoPackage uses UTF-8 character encoding, Scandinavian and other special characters can be used without any problems. This also applies to characters used in the Sámi language.
- Effective and direct use. GeoPackage can be used directly as a data source for workstation and server software. As GeoPackage features support spatial and attribute indices, data can be searched for quickly from database tables, provided that the software used can use GeoPackage databases effectively. Even if it cannot, GeoPackage database files can still be used as an easy data transfer option in place of files divided into map sheets.
GeoPackage files can be downloaded from the open data file download service
Two GeoPackage database files of the National Topographic Database have been published, covering the whole of Finland.
- The elevation file (mtkkorkeus.gpkg) includes feature classes that depict elevations (7 feature classes).
- The terrain file (mtkmaasto.gpkg) includes all other feature classes of the Topographic Database (more than 120 feature classes).
The National Topographic Database’s GeoPackage files can be downloaded from the open data file download service (Select product: National Topographic Database > GeoPackage elevation or GeoPackage terrain).
The files have been compressed in ZIP format (mtkkorkeus.zip and mtkmaasto.zip).
|File||.zip file size||.gpkg file size|
|Elevation file (mtkkorkeus)||approx. 12 Gt||34 Gt|
|Terrain file (mtkmaasto)||approx. 26 Gt||73 Gt|
The files are updated monthly. Data can be updated using the updating service (scroll down to the updating service).
Differences between the GeoPackage and GML formats
The National Topographic Database’s GeoPackage file is very close to the GML version. The GML version includes some 3,000 files, covering the whole of Finland.
There are slight differences between the two formats, and these may be significant when transferring from the GML version to the GeoPackage version.
- There are differences in how the names of tables and attributes have been written in the GeoPackage and XML versions. The GeoPackage format only uses lower case letters, while the GML format uses both lower and upper case letters. Examples: table “otheropenarea” vs. “OtherOpenArea”, attribute “minaddressleft” vs. “minAddressLeft”.
- The “object group” attribute included in tables in the XML version is missing from the GeoPackage version.
- The “mtk_id” field included in GeoPackage tables corresponds to the “gid” field in GML files.
- In the GeoPackage version, all features of the National Topographic Database only appear once, and their geometries are whole. In the GML version, features are either cut according to the edges of map sheets or they are repeated whole in each map sheet file, which includes the feature in question. This makes it more difficult to compile harmonised data covering the whole of Finland.
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