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Only research enables us to lead the way

Laser scanning is a topical example of how long-term investments in research produce new information and methods that help achieve significant societal and financial benefits, even today.

Puolivartalokuvassa puku päällä Pasi Patrikainen katsoo kameraan

The National Land Survey of Finland (NLS) spends EUR 10 million in research each year. These investments have paid off, as they help produce accurate information about our national assets, including forests, rivers, roads and power lines, among others. In Finland, our researchers have developed laser scanning-based measurements to be so effective that it is estimated that the forest industry saves tens of millions of euros annually through forest investments based on new technologies. More accurate measuring data also provides valuable information about biodiversity and helps us adapt to climate change.

The NLS’s long-term investments in research have helped us develop completely new methods and measuring devices that have allowed us to achieve the current measurement accuracy and operational efficiency. The NLS will continue to invest in research and wishes a warm welcome to the Government Programme’s goal to increase research and innovation funding. The Finnish Government is committed to increasing research and innovation funding to four per cent by 2030 to strengthen long-term growth and renewal. We are heading in a good direction, and this will benefit the scientific community, Finland and business life alike.

Achieving the Government Programme’s goals calls for extensive cooperation with universities, higher education institutions, research organisations and companies. The role of research organisations is emphasised especially in applied research, for which the NLS has created good practical applications. Cooperation and joint investments with business life are required to develop the innovations generated as a result of research into new products or services.

Finland conducts world-class geospatial data research

Investments in research have produced excellent results at the NLS. The Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) of the NLS was ranked first among Finnish research organisations for the fourth time in succession in the Academy of Finland’s review of scientific impact. FGI’s research was assessed to be at an excellent level in the 2022 international evaluation.

First-rate science helps develop innovation. Mobile laser scanning is a good example, with the backpack laser scanner developed by FGI’s researchers and used across the world having resulted in commercial applications. For example, NASA has shown interest in the innovation to map the surface of the moon.

Success in research calls for national and international cooperation, also in the future. This goal is also supported by the Government Programme, in which Finland is required to double EU funding. Success in this requires that basic funding provided for research organisations is not reduced and the national match funding required is sufficiently available when applying for EU project funding.

The EU’s development funding makes new investments possible now and in the future – EU funds invested in research enable new innovation and new business in Finland.

Pasi Patrikainen

The author is the Director-General of the National Land Survey of Finland.

In the National Land Survey of Finland blog, different authors discuss various matters topical to the National Land Survey of Finland.