Partner: Addressing Finland with what3words and the National Land Survey

Finland’s public mapping service Maanmittauslaitos (the National Land Survey) has been mapping the nation for over 200 years. Their maps are widely used, so need to be accessible to the mapping expert and novice alike. Users can now use 3 word addresses in the Finnish language, to search and discover locations quickly and easily.

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Plots, parcels and boundaries

The National Land Survey of Finland is the organisation responsible for the public mapping of the country. Used by a variety of businesses and individuals, the NLS conduct various official surveys, such as land parceling (cadastre), as well as producing maps and mapping data (cartography).

For example, work undertaken by their 2,000 employees includes marking out plots for summer cottages, defining the boundaries for future motorways and consolidating parcels of farmland to make farmers’ lives easier.

“Was that 456 or 546?”

Mapping a nation is one task. Making sense of those maps is an entirely different challenge. Whilst machines and mapping experts might be able to understand longitude and latitude coordinates, understanding complex strings of data is often a step too far for general members of the public.

However, the NLS maps need to be both business and consumer-friendly. With that in mind, a solution was required, to help make the spatial data more accessible to every type of user.

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Finding your place

In response, NLS has integrated the what3words service into its ‘Paikkatietoikkuna’ geo-portal. what3words is a precise yet simple addressing system. It’s based on a global grid of 3m x 3m squares, with each square assigned a unique 3 word address.

The people of Finland can now use the portal to discover their own 3 word address, simply by locating their property on the map and clicking on the “X.Y” button. They can also identify 3 word addresses for other points of interest in the country which may not have a street address, such as the specific entrance to a large site or building, or unaddressed countryside features. Users can also search for a location by its 3 word address. The search feature is available in all what3words languages, including Finnish.

“We’re delighted to be adding 3 word addresses in Paikkatietoikkuna”, said Arvo Kokkenen, Director General at National Land Survey. “Our geoportal allows members of the public to better understand their local environment. By giving users access to what3words, it helps make the maps and data even easier to use in everyday life”.

The partnership is part of a larger launch of the what3words service in the Finnish language. Alongside the National Land Survey of Finland, the leading Finnish navigation app, Reitti GPS has also added support for 3 word addresses.

Find out more about using what3words for national mapping