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Norwegian Mapping Authority (norwegianmapping)

Anonymous (not verified)
Published on: 10/06/2010 Document Archived

The Norwegian Mapping Authority (Statens Kartverk) is the central organisation for the provision of mapping images to most public bodies and organisations in Norway. After experiencing a vast increase in requests for their services in 2006 and 2007, the Mapping Authority also had to deal with an increasingly overstrained IT infrastructure. The licenses for their infrastructure however were very costly, and acquiring additional licenses would only increase the financial burden consistently in the future.

The Mapping Authority therefore chose to employ an IT infrastructure based on open source software solutions, which were free of licensing costs and which proved to be much better, performance wise. In the process of introducing the new IT infrastructure, the team had to build up own expertise in order to maintain a functioning system. With the help of online communities, this has been a great success for the Mapping Authority.

Policy Context

National government of Norway.

Description of target users and groups

The system can only be accessed by the member organisations of the Norway Digital co-operation.


Description of the way to implement the initiative

The main task of the Mapping Authority is to provide maps whenever a partner organisation needs one. This process is largely automated, so all requests happen online through the database system. The Mapping Authority does not only have to provide the map, but also complementary information requested by the respective partners. Those complementary information might be the location of ships, weather circumstances, or national preservation areas, for example.

Technology solution

Linux RedHat and several other open source products, such as PostgreSQL, PostGIS, and Mapserver.

Technology choice: Open source software

Return on investment

Return on investment: €49-299,000

Track record of sharing

The three main improvements that the undertaking brought along were:

  • cost savings;
  • improved stability, and
  • the freedom to adapt the system to their needs.

Considering that the services the Mapping Authority provides are still increasingly requested, these three points gain in importance continuously.

Where the savings generated by not having to purchase licenses amounted to EUR 250 000 already in 2008, these may well have been doubled again by the year of 2010. The stability plays an equally important role, as more and more partners relay on the services. By relaying on open source solutions, the Mapping Authority can ensure that system breakdowns do not hinder the work of others.

Lessons learnt

One more positive aspect of open source solutions is the ability to share developments and expertise. Any developments that the Mapping Authority ha done themselves can be shared with others, where this appears useful. The Norwegian government is also trying to promote the use and the sharing of open source software through the portal Through this portal, the government has released a kind of "cook book" where organisations are guided on their way to implementing open source software. 

Scope: National