MapSite - an Internet map service of the National Land Survey of Finland gets dressed up with modern technology
MapSite - an Internet map service of the National Land Survey of Finland gets dressed up with modern technology

Jere Rajalin

MapSite of the National Land Survey of Finland was the first national Internet map service in Europe. It was launched in September 1996. Since then the service has been a huge success. Until now it has almost 300,000 users in all, the number of paying customers is over 2,000. In the spring of 2001 National Land Survey (NLS) started a project to produce a new Internet map service to replace the old MapSite. The developing project is divided in three phases. In the first phase services of paying customers are renewed. Free of charge map browsing service is being modernised in the second phase. Totally new services may be produced in the third phase.


The construction of the new MapSite is based on the utilisation of the services of the Information Interface. The Information Interface will be a well-defined, XML-based interface, which allows information to be exported to and imported from other software, web browsers and mobile devices. Information service applications of NLS will be users of the Information Interface as they are created or renewed. Co-operating partners will also be offered the opportunity to make use of the Information Interface.

The user interface of the new MapSite is created dynamically in the server using XML-technology; there are no pre-coded static HTML-pages. The size of the map window, controlled by a Java-applet, is planned to be as large as possible to fit in the browser window. The content of the control frame is created using XML/XSLT-technology in accordance with the phase of function.

Bentley Publisher serves map browsing via the Information Interface. There are 8 different raster map datasets to be viewed in 13 scales (from 1:1,000 to 1:8 million). Desired maps can be searched by place name (800, 000 place names) or by address (18 million addresses). Conventional panning, zoom-in, zoom-out and plotting functions are available.

Chargeable services of MapSite enable users to make the queries to original data resources of the NLS. In the first phase access to the Real Estate Register, the Digital Cadastral Boundary Map and the Real Estate Market Price Register is being implemented. Services are based on the use of the Information Interface. Selection criteria of queries can be based on location (point, line, rectangle or polygon) or attribute restrictions. MapSite servers handle queries on-line. The results of the query may be an extract of the register viewed in a separate window or vector data overlaid on a raster map in a map window. The development version of the new MapSite has been demonstrated to the customers of the NLS, with a very positive reaction. Release of the first phase of the new MapSite will be in spring, 2003.

LIBER Quarterly, Volume 13 (2003), No. 1