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Crossing municipal borders in – map sharing in Southwest Finland
Common database facilitates access to municipal and regional maps

The region of Southwest Finland, the City of Turku and several of its neighbouring municipalities are making common function in land use planning more efficient through an electronically stored land use atlas. Consumers can use the same unique electronic atlas to scrutinise regional plans and general plans for land use and also municipal planning. The electronic atlas is a new not-for-profit service, and officially the plans are displayed for public inspection in the preparatory stage just as it has been before. The work on the electronic land use atlas was co-ordinated by ICT Turku Oy, of the Turku Science Park concern.

ICT Turku Oy Project Assistant, Timo Huttunen (left) and Master Planning Engineer of Turku, Olavi Ahola scrutinise plans in the electronically stored land use atlas.
High resolution image
Photo: Laura Hohteri

The electronic atlas limits overlap in the work of land use planners because comprehensive planning information can be conveniently located at one single place in one single form. It is easy for consumers to access planning information, free of charge and from far away by means of an Internet browser. In the future Internet will enable them to express their opinions on the plans at an early stage.

The Regional Council of Southwest Finland updates the regional maps in the electronic atlas, while the municipalities take care of the joint plans and their own master plans and detailed plans. Thanks to the technical compatibility of maps made possible by the electronic land use atlas the municipalities will have the option of outsourcing maintenance of plan maps.

"Land use is of interest to regional and urban planners, owners of real estate, consultants, credit agencies and surveying officials among others." Mr. Pekka Hallikainen, director of planning in the subregion of east Uusimaa, anticipates that the electronic atlas developed in Southwest Finland will make land use planning more efficient and easy. The fact that the maps transcend administrative borders makes it easier to form an overall picture, especially near regional borders. "The Turku area is a pioneer and an electronic atlas like this offers an alternative to ordering maps, copying and mailing. At last both officials and consumers can focus on their own work instead of spending time acquiring and archiving papers", says Mr. Hallikainen.

Pekka Hallikainen
High resolution image
Photo: Antero Kortesmaa

For the municipalities maps that transcend municipal borders are a boon. Regardless of the borders the electronic atlas provides a general idea and precise data on the use of the area for traffic, services, industry and recreation etc. This is particularly helpful for organisations offering investment services to enterprises. The electronic land use atlas also provides rapid displays of the various stages in the preparation of plans, their legal status and possible conservation decisions. "It is easy for consumers to check out the maps in the electronic atlas. The environmental officials have already authorised the display of general and land use maps using the electronic land use atlas", says Mr. Olavi Ahola, Master Planning Engineer of the City of Turku.

This electronically compiled atlas developed by ICT Turku Oy is a good action model for comparable map and location information services anywhere in Finland. The technical realisation of the electronic land use atlas is the work of the Department of Geography, University of Turku. The development work was funded by the Environmental Centre of Southwest Finland, the Regional Council of South-West Finland and the EU Regional Development Fund. The development work formed part of the joint InnoELLI programme of Southern Finland.

Electronic Plan Atlas:

Further information:

ICT Turku Oy
Timo Huttunen,
Project Assistant
tel. +358 40 719 2335
ICT Turku Oy
Sirpa Simola,
Project Manager
Tel. +358 50 557 0031
Turun kaupunki
Olavi Ahola,
Master Planning Engineer
tel. +358 50 541 7925
Itä-Uudenmaan liitto
Pekka Hallikainen,
Planning Chief
tel. +358 40 580 3126

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.
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