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Plan your mushroom picking trip using maps and aerial photos

If you are planning a trip to the autumn forest to find a new mushroom picking spot, you can ensure a successful trip by taking a look at geospatial data beforehand. You can use maps and aerial photos to identify potential mushroom spots and find new hiking areas.

Kolme ihmistä sieniretkellä metsässä.
Jussi Valkeajoki

‘I also enjoy picking mushrooms. It combines physical exercise with relaxation in nature and the joy of discovery,’ says Heli Laaksonen, head of cartography at the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS).

‘Finding new mushroom spots can be quite a challenge, while the use of maps and aerial photos certainly helps when planning a picking trip,’ says Heli.

Funnel chanterelles are especially abundant in October

In late autumn, funnel chanterelles and yellowfoot mushrooms are particularly abundant. They thrive on mossy slopes and by the sides of moist hollows. The NLS MapSite service shows the type of terrain in each area.

This is how you can use MapSite:

  • Start by checking the contour lines on topographic maps to find locations where a wetland or peatland with trees has been marked in a dell – this could potentially be a suitably moist location. 
  • Next, switch to an aerial photo to see what the forest looks like. While funnel chanterelles do not require any particularly old forest or a forest in its natural state, you cannot find them at clear-cutting sites or in seedling stands. A trained eye can identify the approximate age of a forest, as well as spruce and pine forests in aerial photos. A spruce forest is more ideal for finding funnel chanterelles. 
  • While you can also use slope shading to identify the topography, all you really need are contour lines. 

If you already know where a mushroom-rich area is located and want to find new spots, you can also search for them by comparing the aerial photo of the good spot with others to find similar areas.

Use Paikkatietoikkuna when going hiking in the forest

To find an attractive hiking area, you can use the NLS Paikkatietoikkuna service, which contains more than 2,000 map layers from different data providers. For example, the Finnish Forest Centre’s canopy height model and the Natural Resources Institute Finland’s stand age provide more detailed information about forests. The Paikkatietoikkuna service also includes Natura areas, ancient monuments, and other interesting objects for hiking. 

Paikkatietoikkuna features the ‘Nearest address’ tool, which you can use to enter an address in a car navigator or to call a taxi, for example. The same tool is also available in MapSite. In addition, you can save your own places in Paikkatietoikkuna if, for example, you have found a good hiking area and want to return to it later. Different map layers can also be compared in Paikkatietoikkuna. If you want to compare different map layers, such as the most recent and a historical aerial photo taken in the same location, you can place them on top of each other or side by side. 

Don’t get lost in the forest 

‘When heading to the forest, you should always carry a map with you to know where you are. A topographic map is ideal for getting around in the forest. It shows all the trails that are recorded in the NLS Topographic Database. However, not all trails have been recorded, and you will see many more paths in the forest than on your map,’ says Heli Laaksonen.

Furthermore, MapSite does not indicate what trails are officially marked routes. You can find them in the Metsähallitus Excursion Map service, for example.

In MapSite, you can also buy map printouts if you want to take a printed topographic map with you. MapSite is also available on mobile devices, and it enables you to check your position. If you need to track your position continuously, you should use a different app on your mobile device. Most Finnish map apps are based on NLS datasets.

Further information

Heli Laaksonen, Head of Cartography, tel. +358 40 098 6869,

Spatial data
Topographic map

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