The National Land Survey of Finland (NLS) (In Finnish,
Maanmittaushallitus), Helsinki, was founded in 1919, soon
after Finland's independence. It is Finland's principal
mapping agency, responsible for cadastral mapping as well
as topographic survey, and also for the production of a range
of thematic maps. NLS was reorganized and decentralized
in 1994 and further restructuring took place in 1999. It
now comprises 13 District Survey Offices, together with five
national operational units. The Satellite Image Center has been fully privatized
and is now Novosat Ltd.
A modern mapping program was started after World War
II using aerial photogrammetry. High precision geodetic
control is provided by the Finnish Geodetic Institute
(Geodettinen Laitos), which also carries out research into
technical aspects of surveying, GIS and computer cartography.
The Finnish Defence Forces have also cooperated in
the mapping of northern Finland.
The basic scale mapping is 1:20,000 and the 3,750 sheets
required to cover the country were not completed until
1975. This basic map, Peruskartta, in Finnish, has been
continually updated since then. The projection is Gauss─Krϋger,
International ellipsoid 1924, and the country is
divided into four projection zones, each 3° longitude wide.
Maps are overprinted with the Finnish national grid coordinate
system called KKJ.
The original specification for the 1:20,000 scale sheets
differed somewhat between northern and southern Finland.
In southern Finland, the map was designed for cadastral
purposes and was compiled at 1:10,000 scale and then photo-reduced
for publication. It was printed in five colors. In
the north, compilation was at the publication scale, giving
a somewhat more generalized map, printed in three colors,
which did not show property boundaries. These sheets were
termed Topografinen kartta. The standard map sheets are in
a 50 cm × 50 cm (10 km × 10 km) format, with a contour
interval of 5 m. The legend is given in Finnish and also in Swedish. New digitally-produced
sheets of the 1:20,000 scale map are printed in
Derived map series were published from the 1950s at scales
of 1:50,000 and 1:100,000, originally produced by photo
reduction and generalization of the 1:20,000 scale line work.
The 1:100,000 scale, a colorful map showing cultivated
land in yellow, with forest in green and grazing land white,
was started in 1953 and completed in 1984. Complete cover of the country at
1:50,000 scale in 647 sheets was achieved in 1986, and in
1987-88, a new 1:50,000 map specification was prepared,
and computerized production of this new series began in
1989. Since 1994, this map has been wholly derived from
the Topographic Data System (TDS).
In 1979, a 1:5,000 scale base map was started, using
orthophoto images. Today digital orthophotos at this scale
are combined with digital vector data from the TDS in a
hybrid product. Planimetric maps at scales of 1:500, 1:1,000
and 1:2,000 are produced as required by municipal survey
organizations or their production is contracted by the
municipal authorities to private consulting companies or to
Soviet military topographic mapping of Finland is available at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (8 sheets, complete coverage, published 1980-1989);
1:500,000 (18 sheets, complete coverage, published 1976-1993); 1:200,000 (82 sheets, complete coverage, published 1974-1993); 1:100,000 (220 sheets, complete coverage,
published 1972-1999); 1:50,000 (36 sheets, minimal coverage, published 1980-1998) and city (1:10,000) topographic mapping of 11 major cities from Espoo to Tampere published between
1952 and 1989. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
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