Free At LastSubmitted by thomas.nynas on Mon, 05/14/2012 - 18:33
There's strange things going on in this part of the world. Really, you will get something for free! It's not everyday you experience that, so I thought it would be worth sharing some thoughts.
What happened was that the Finnish National Land Survey opened up all their data at May 1st of 2012. Topo, basic maps, road networks, LIDAR, you name it. Gone are the days when you were planning a small project and went "Well, this is all nice, but where do we get the data?". Equally gone are the days when you knew where to get the data, but got a severe case of heartburn when finding out what you had to pay for it.
OK, so there is a small caveat: the data is raw. You won't get a nice Esri or MapInfo workspace and ready-to-go classified features. You have to do some work yourself, but I think this is fair. As Pekka Sarkola said in his Finnish blog entry: amateurs and semi-professionals, don't bother.
For background, details and a full picture, please read Pekka's blog at Paikkatieto.com. He has the links, go visit them and download some free data for your project. Reference the NLS in the copyright tag and send them a warm thought of thanks the next time you need data.
And... while we're at it - on a more local note the City of Kokkola opened up a regional map service, providing us with local data of magnificient quality. Check out more here (in Finnish).