Contact person for provided information:

Last modified on 13-Aug-2018

Kalle Konttinen
Maanmittauslaitos, National Land Survey of Finland
Head of Land Consolidations
P.O. Box 84, FIN-00521 HELSINKI, Finland

Part 1: Country Report

A. Country Context

A.1 Geographical Context

Last modified on 21-Sep-2016

Finland has 5.5 million inhabitants. The total area of the country is 338,000 km2. On average there are about 17 inhabitants/km2. The population is located mainly in the Southern and Western parts of the country. 67% live in towns or urban areas, 33% in rural areas.

Land use: 68% is forest, 10% water, 6% cultivated land and 2% urban areas. Finland is a land of lakes; there are about 188,000 lakes and about 179,000 islands.

A.2 Historical Context

Last modified on 21-Sep-2016

Permanent colonization and farming in Finland was a process that lasted about 7,000 years. The inhabitants came both from the East and the West.

Until the mid 12th century, the geographical area that is now Finland was politically interesting to both its Western neighbour Sweden and its Eastern neighbour Novgorod (Russia). Sweden came out on top, as the peace treaty of 1323 assigned the main part of the country to Sweden and Eastern Finland to Novgorod. After that Finland was part of the Swedish realm for some 500 years up to 1809. As a consequence the Swedish legal and social systems took root in Finland and even today we have two official languages: Finnish 89%) and Swedish (5%).

When Sweden had lost its position as a great power, Russia conquered Finland in 1809. Finland was attached to the Russian empire as an autonomous Grand Duchy for just over a century. During the Russian era Finland received extensive autonomy and the Finnish state was created.

After the declaration of independence in 1917 and its approval abroad, the government troops won the Civil War in 1918. Finland lost the South-eastern part of the country to the Soviet Union as a consequence of the Second World War 1939-1944. Unlike any other state on the European continent that was involved in the war, Finland was never occupied by foreign forces.

In 1995 Finland became a member of the European Union.

A.3 Current Political and Administrative Structures

Last modified on 21-Sep-2016

Finland is one State with a central government and parliament (elected every 4 years). Finland is a republic and the president is elected every 6 years. The prime minister and the government have the actual political power. For administrative purposes, the country is divided into 19 regions and 313 municipalities. Municipalities are in charge of local governing and they have directly elected municipal councils and a right to levy taxes. They form inter-municipal associations for health care etc.

The ministries in the central government are small organizations, mainly dealing with policy issues and preparation of proposals to the parliament. The central administration is carried out by national authorities and agencies, which, within the framework of the legislation and budget frames, have to carry out the implementation of the policy.

A.4 Historical Outline of Cadastral System

Last modified on 13-Aug-2018

The registration of holdings started for taxation purposes in the year 1539. The king had decided to construct a list of peasants and their taxes. Feudalism was never introduced in Finland and the peasants always retained their personal freedom. The holdings were numbered village by village. These numbers form even today the base for the identifiers of the basic property units (as defined by the UNECE/HBP/135:Guidelines on Real Property Units and Identifiers). From the 17th century these books were accomplished with village cadastral maps. The first surveyor was assigned to Finland in 1633 by the king.

A remarkable land reform (basic land consolidation) started in 1757 and lasted for almost 200 years. The shape of private farms was improved and new peasants were settled especially on the crown land of the eastern part of the country.

In the beginning of the 19th century Finland became a part of the Russian Empire and central administration was established. The National Land Survey Board was established in 1812. There was no radical change in the cadastral legislation that derived from the Swedish rule. A register of basic property units was completed in 1904. The number of units was about 120,000. The cities became responsible for keeping the real estate cadastre in city-planned areas.

The land titles have always been confirmed by local courts in order to make it known that a property has changed ownership. Written documents are available from medieval time. The land book (register of titles and mortgages) was established in 1931 and 1951.

National mapping based on one unified geodetic system begun in the 19th century. It was first carried out by the topographic unit of the Russian army and from 1917 by the National Land Survey of Finland and the Finnish army. Cadastral boundaries were also collected to the topographic maps that were printed in scale 1:20,000 from 1947. The whole country was covered with this uniform base map in 1977 and at the same time cadastral index maps were produced. They are updated continuously in the scale 1:10,000 on the rural areas and in bigger scales on urban areas.

The National Land Survey started the digitalization of the cadastre in the 1970´s. The objectives were to improve the efficiency of the activities and to promote the joint use of registers. The land register was digitalized in the 1980´s by the Ministry of Justice.

In 2003 the Parliament decided that a unified Cadastre is created and administrated by the National Land Survey. The system was introduced in June 2005 and is the primary and legal register for cadastral information.

B. Institutional Framework

B.1 Government Organizations

Last modified on 13-Aug-2018

National Land Survey of Finland (Maanmittauslaitos) is a governmental authority. It is responsible for the administration of the Cadastre and carrying out cadastral surveys in the rural areas. The land register (title registration) activities were transferred from local courts to The National Land Survey in the beginning of 2010.

The National Land Survey is also responsible for topographic mapping and the topographic database. 75 cities take care of the cadastral surveys and mapping in their urban areas.

In 2014 National Land Survey was reorganized. Since then there no longer exists District survey offices, national level units are responsible for production. Fron the beginning of 2015 Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and also The Finnish Geodetic Institute (FGI) was combined with The National Land Survey.

The Population Register Centre is responsible of the Building Register.

Population Register Centre operates under the Ministry of Interior and National Land Survey under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

B.2 Private Sector Involvement

Last modified on 21-Sep-2016

The private sector is not involved with the registration or carrying out the cadastral surveys.

B.3 Professional Organization or Association

Last modified on 21-Sep-2016

Finnish Association of Surveyors MIL represents academic professional surveyors and has about 1,000 members. Bachelors of engineering and technicians are represented by Maanmittausalan ammattikorkeakoulu- ja opistoteknisten Liitto MAKLI that has about 1,200 members.

B.4 Licensing

Last modified on 13-Aug-2018

No licensing. The cadastral surveys are carried out by civil servants of the state or the municipalities. The requirements for the surveying engineers are stated in legislation. You need a bachelor's degree or an master's degree in land surveying in order to act as a cadastral surveyor.

B.5 Education

Last modified on 07-Sep-2009

Master degree in eng.               1 University             40 graduates

Lawyers                                     3 Universities          ..

Bachelors in eng.                      3 Polytechnics        75 graduates

C. Cadastral System

C.1 Purpose of Cadastral System

Last modified on 07-Sep-2009

The purpose of the Land Information System (LIS) is to secure the legal interests in land and conveyancing. The system serves also fiscal purposes for which the tax authorities have a register. Furthermore the system serves more and more as a source of land information for planning etc.

C.2 Types of Cadastral System

Last modified on 07-Sep-2009

From 1st of June 2005 there is one unified Cadastre for the whole country.

C.3 Cadastral Concept

Last modified on 13-Aug-2018

In Finland all land is divided into basic property units that are the register units in the Cadastre. These property units consist of one or more parcels and they may also have a share in common areas. All the basic property units are surveyed and registered in the nationwide Land Information System that includes also a cadastral index map and information about titles and mortgages. Objects that are permanently fixed to a parcel (for example buildings) are part of it. The apartments in condominiums are not fixed property and they are registered by the condominiums limited liability housing companies.

C.4 Content of Cadastral System

Last modified on 07-Sep-2009

The Land Information System consists of:

  • the Land Register (registration of ownership, mortgages and special rights)
  • the Property Register (registration of basic property units, unseparated areas, servitudes and extent of areal plans)

The cadastral identifiers can serve as links to:

  • the building register (buildings and flats),
  • the population register (residents in the buildings), part of the population information system,
  • the fiscal registers of the tax authorities.

All the above mentioned systems are 100% computerized.

D. Cadastral Mapping

D.1 Cadastral Map

Last modified on 07-Sep-2009

The whole country is covered with one uniform cadastral index map. The database is centralized and seamless. This object-orientated database consists of the map and attribute data (there is always an updated link between these objects).

The cadastral index map consists of boundary points, boundary lines and parcels. Parcels include identifiers of basic property units. Also unseparated areas (conveyed areas that are not yet surveyed) are registered.

The map consists also of servitudes that can be points (for example well), lines (for example right of way) or areas (for example nature conservation area).

The data model is produced only in Finnish (consists of more than 200 objects).

D.2 Example of a Cadastral Map

Last modified on 07-Sep-2009

The user can choose the background for the cadastral map. In the attached 3 examples there are the topographic map in raster format, the topographic database in vector format and the orthophoto.

D.3 Role of Cadastral Layer in SDI

Last modified on 21-Sep-2016

Due to improved technical possibilities the utilization of cadastral data is increasing. It is possible to get access to the map and the attribute data online with LIS Web browser service, with Cadastral and Land register statement service (https/pdf), with data request services (WFS and REST) and with data service by order. The cadastral data together with a topographic map is utilized in regional planning, utility planning etc. These activities are carried out on local and national levels.


E. Reform Issues

E.1 Cadastral Issues

Last modified on 21-Sep-2016

A standard transaction (title) to a basic property unit or unseparated area is a fast process, but subdivision (parcelling out) takes 5.4 months on average.

There are 76 updating organizations in the cadastre and the quality of data is to be defined and harmonized. The data has been produced during a long period of time.

As information about all the servitudes (rights of way) are not included in the cadastre; some archive studies are often needed.

E.2 Current Initiatives

Last modified on 13-Aug-2018

Title registration for basic property transactions has been possible in internet since 2013 and National Land Survey promotes internet transactions.

Apartment ownership system is undet renewall. Limited Liability Housing Company is a most common way of managing housing in urban areas in Finland. Shares are owned, not apartments. Every share gives right to certain apartment. National digital register for housing company shares is in development. Preparation of legislation is under way and new register should be in action in 2019. 


F. References

Last modified on 07-Sep-2009


Part 2: Cadastral Principles and Statistics

1. Cadastral Principles

Last modified on 07-Sep-2009

1.1 Type of registration system

title registration
deeds registration

1.2 Legal requirement for registration of land ownership


1.4 Approach for establishment of cadastral records

both, systematic and sporadic
all properties already registered

2. Cadastral Statistics

Last modified on 13-Aug-2018

2.1 Population


2.2a Population distribution: percentage of population living in urban areas


2.2b Population distribution: percentage of population living in rural areas


2.3 Number of land parcels

--- Number of land parcels per 1 million population

2.4 Number of registered strata titles/condominium units

--- Number of strata titles/condominium units per 1 million population

2.5 Legal status of land parcels in URBAN areas:

percentage of parcels that are properly registered and surveyed
percentage of parcels that are legally occupied, but not registered or surveyed
percentage of parcels that are informally occupied without legal title

2.6 Legal status of land parcels in RURAL areas:

percentage of parcels that are properly registered and surveyed
percentage of parcels that are legally occupied, but not registered or surveyed
percentage of parcels that are informally occupied without legal title

2.7 Number of active professional land surveyors


2.8 Proportion of time that active professional land surveyors commit for cadastral matters (%)

--- Approx. full-time equivalent of land surveyors committed to cadastral matters

2.9 Number of active lawyers/solicitors


2.10 Proportion of time that active lawyers/solicitors commit for cadastral matters (%)

--- Approx. full-time equivalent of active lawyers/solicitors committed to cadastral matters