The National Land Survey -case in Finland

In Finland the open data movement is following the first big “to open or not to open” -battle. Week ago I blogged about this case in Finnish and the topic was quickly noticed in the media including the biggest Finnish news paper Helsingin Sanomat.

Image: Left detailed map, right detailed aerial image. The National Land Survey want’s to open the detailed terrain database and other big geodata resources for free of charge, but the budget department of the Ministry of Finance opposes the proposal.

The Finnish National Landsurvey (NLS) wants to open several databases, such as the terrain database, detailed raster maps, and digital aerial images for free of charge to all users. NLS bases it’s proposal to the prime minister Jyrki Katainen’s Government programme (see the quotes from the Gov. programme at the end of this post) and spesific government resolution about public data.

Currently NLS collects fees for data sales about 5.0 M€ per year. As a result of the NLS proposal the direct revenue is expected to decline, so that next year it would be only 3.8 M€. At the same time also the costs would fall significantly.

The NLS charges are set in the legal regulation. The ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (NLS works under this ministry) made an official proposal to change the regulation so that it would allow the NLS to open the datasets free of charge. The proposal got strong support from other ministries and stakeholder. Only the Budget Department from the Ministry of Finance is opposing the proposal.

Original documents:
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 2011: Request for comments about the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s suggestion to change the regulation of the National Land Survey fees (11.11.2011 2390/13/2011)

“… suggests that moment §5b will be added to the regulation. According to the moment the National Land Survey would not charge fees for the usage of the terrain data. When the data transfer costs are low, could also transfer the costs be waived. Such low cost transfers would be, for example when pre-formed files are downloaded via electronic self-service as well as web services that are based on standardized interfaces and operate without service level guarantees for limited amount of users.”

Ministry of Finance 2011 – Reply (VM/1865/00.00.05/2011) to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s request for comments (11.11.2011 2390/13/2011)

“Wider opening of the Terrain Database for citizens and enterprises is to be welcomed, but it does not mean that the right to use the terrain data in the future would be free of charge or below cost recovery. The Ministry of Finance does not support such a change … “

Media coverage:
All the articles below are in Finnish, I only translated the headlines.


Programme of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen’s Government (22 June 2011)

Economic, employment and innovation policy (p. 86)
“Information resources produced using public funding will be opened up for public and corporate access. The goal is to make digital data materials managed by the public sector available to citizens, companies, enterprises and organisations, authorities, and for research and education purposes in an easily reusable format via information networks.”

Policy approach to local government and development of public administration (p. 138)
“Public data will be brought into the public domain in a computer-readable format and available for further processing.”

One response to “The National Land Survey -case in Finland

  1. Pingback: Victory!! – Finnish map data and aerial photographs will be opened | apoikola

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