30 November 2020

How do we justify continuous improvement?

Arvo Kokkonen, Director General, National Land Survey of Finland

In the first in a series of guest posts from the Heads of Member Organisations, Arvo Kokkonen, Director General, National Land Survey of Finland asks:

How do we justify continuous improvement?

The National Land Survey of Finland has maintained the Finnish real estate and terrain information system for three centuries. Emperor Alexander I approved the Statutes of the Main Land Survey on November 14, 1812. This created the central agency in Finland responsible for the current National Land Survey. This month we celebrated the 208th anniversary of our organization. Our work continues.

According to historian Matti Peltonen, Finland became an economically autonomous state in the 1830s and 1840s - an early precedent for a politically autonomous state and an independent Finland. From the perspective of the National Land Survey of Finland, Peltonen's view of the timing of the economic transition in the 1840s is correct. It was that decade that significantly paved the way for the renewal of the land surveying industry.

In 1848, a compendium of regulations was published, which contained regulations important to the business community concerning the organization of large-scale distribution. The aim was to solve the land access issues of budding industry, public construction projects and agglomerations. A couple of years later, a map of Gylden's forests in Finland was published. The land survey had a clear link to industrialization, access to industrial labor and raw materials, and major public construction projects.

We produce reliable information about the country

When I think about the current mission of the National Land Survey, the similarity to the goals set in the 19th century is still obvious. Our task is to create conditions for stable and diversified economic activities that serve the interests of the nation. We do this by providing reliable information on the distribution of land to different real estate units and the location of real estate, registration of holdings and data related to land use.

Of course, there are more information producers and distributors today. Likewise, there are several actors who need information about the country. It must be possible to combine data from different data sources. Large public or private construction projects cannot be carried out without unambiguous information on the extent, location, ownership and land use of the land.

We are able to cost-effectively handle the ever-increasing masses of data by leveraging new technology and new types of information generated by research and innovation. In this way, we can meet the expanding information needs of society, for example through digitalisation.

The National Land Survey is reforming its operations so that we can more effectively serve the needs of society and support productivity growth in various business areas. Governance structures and the management system must live on the nerves of time when the goal is to achieve a better common good. The National Land Survey is currently implementing the change in a common direction by developing its operations and organization.