Finnish solutions for land administration, urbanization and climate change displayed in Washington DC


Text: Elina Warsta

Urbanization and climate change are affecting land management everywhere, especially in developing countries where economic growth is fast, and societies are taking giant leaps forward for example in terms of digitalization. Registration of land and acknowledgement of property rights on public, private and communal land remain the main challenges for several countries, where informal settlements may represent majority of the rapid growth of cities. However, amazing applications such as 3D mapping are available, and the technology keeps evolving.

According to the World Bank, Africa´s urban population stands at 472 million people today, and it´s predicted to double over the next 25 years, reaching one billion people by 2040. Kenya is one of the fastest growing economies in the East and Central African region, and one of the most advanced countries in ICT use and application in the continent. Kenya is highly interested to use technology to boost development, and could be one of the countries to benefit from solutions and knowhow provided by Finnish companies, which were presented at the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty on 20-24 March 2017 in Washington DC.


Imagine a developing country A, where illegal logging for clearing forest to agricultural land or grazing continues to cause troubles, and requires monitoring. Deforestation and unsustainable use of forest resources is not only contributing to carbon emissions and land erosion, but has also devastating impact on the socio-economic side, including issues related to corruption or informal labor; not to mention the monetary losses of actual landowners. In addition, country A is considering investing in a mill to produce biofuels and other chemicals from agricultural residues, and wishes to map out all available resources with the help of satellite mapping and GIS. Arbonaut and Simosol provide solutions for these situations, and have references from successful projects for example in Nepal, Pakistan, Angola or Brazil.

At the same time country A wishes to engage public in urban planning to increase safety for girls and women to walk to school and work. Education of girls is one of the key elements of development; safe and enabling environment, with for example sufficient street lighting should be natural part of urban planning. Engaging citizens in identifying troublesome areas helps to gather information from large groups easily with location tied information (what, where, why). Dimenteq provides platform called Harava for this: Harava is listed as one of the best practices by United Nations Human Rights Council.

Furthermore, country A needs to facilitate construction and monitoring of large infrastructure projects: building of new roads and bridges. These projects can be digitalized to gain cost-efficiency for planning, construction and maintenance (solutions provided by Sito and Pointscene). Telecommunication, water, sewage, energy, street lighting and district heating networks can be monitored with web-based solutions by authorities at municipal level (solutions by Keypro and Trimble). On the other hand, existing roads and railroads require monitoring for maintenance, which is possible with the help of mobile phones and computer vision, a cutting-edge application of Vionice that is being used already e.g. in Denmark, Finland, Ghana, Norway and Tanzania.

Most of us who are not specialized in land management and spatial data based solutions, are not aware of the great variety and potential of available applications, which can replace labor intensive monitoring and maintenance quickly and reliably, as well as analyze large amounts of information cost-efficiently and transparently.


Ten Finnish companies from the Finnish Location Information Cluster (FLIC) presented their expertise at the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty (see full list at the end of the article). The companies had joined their forces together with Finpro (National Trade Promotion Agency), Tekes (National Innovation Funding Agency), National Land Survey of Finland, and Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland for a Team Finland booth, which gathered continuous flow of interested audience during the week. The conference attracted around 1700 participants from all over the world to network, find partners or customers, as well as to learn from each other.

Are you aware of the best options available, and the impressive list of countries that already benefit from Finnish solutions?


In addition to Finland, the companies represented at the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty have public and private sector customers in:

Arbonaut – Cambodia, Canada, France, Ireland, Nepal, Pakistan, Poland, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, USA, Vietnam
Dimenteq – Australia, Austria, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania
Keypro – Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Oman, Poland, the Philippines, Qatar, Turkey, Spain, Sweden, UK, Ukraine, Vietnam
Niras Finland – Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kosovo, Palestine, Serbia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Vietnam (among others)
Pointscene – Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, UK, United States
Simosol – Angola, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Tanzania, Estonia, Latvia, Pakistan, Panama, Switzerland, Vietnam
Sito – Indonesia, Norway, Poland, Sweden
Spatineo – Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
Trimble Finland – Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, USA (among others)
Vionice – Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Norway, Tanzania.