History of Surveying and Measurement

Inauguration of a Finnish Point of the Struve Geodetic Arc World Heritage Monument

Puolakka, Finland, 24 August 2005

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The commemorative plaque unveiled on the site.

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Seppo Härmälä making his way through the vegetation on the climb to the summit.

On 24 August 2005 the National Land Survey of Finland organised a gathering for the inauguration of the survey station at Puolakka as part of the Struve Geodetic Arc World Heritage Monument. This station is at latitude 61º 55’ 36” N and longitude 25º 32’ 01” E which is some 250 kms north of Helsinki. The group of some 60 persons that gathered at the point included representatives from nine of the ten countries involved together with others from both UNESCO and the FIG International Institution for the History of Surveying & Measurement; in addition there were local dignitaries from the nearest town of Korpilahti and several members of press, radio and television. Some of these had travelled the 250 kms from Helsinki by coach and then an hour by ferry to reach the vicinity and this was followed by a steep climb of over 114 m in elevation above the lake to the 192.8 m summit of the hill.

The idea for such a monument had been first proposed by Aarne Veriö of Finland to a scientific conference in Tartu in 1993 and the following year to FIG at its Congress in Melbourne. On both occasions the presentation was made by Seppo Härmälä, Honorary Member of FIG, who now, at age 87, was able to make his way to the survey station with the rest of the party and witness the unveiling of an appropriate plaque.

Short presentations were made by Jarmo Ratia, Director General of the National Land Survey of Finland; Peter Stott of UNESCO and Jan de Graeve on behalf of FIG.

After taking numerous photographs of the present day survey pillar, the Struve mark – which is a hole in the rock surface- and of a nearby survey tower, from which there were superb views over the lakes, the party partook of suitable liquid refreshment that had somehow mysteriously appeared at the summit.

All agreed that the National Land Survey of Finland had most suitably launched the first of the 34 survey stations that formed the substance of the submission to UNESCO for the successful Inscription as a World Heritage Monument.

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The English version of the inscription.

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Seppo Härmälä.

22 September 2005
Jim R Smith

Further information can be obtained from:

Professor Jan de Graeve,
5 Ave de Meysse,
1020 Brussel, Belgium

J R Smith
24 Woodbury Ave, Petersfield
Hants GU32 2EE, UK
e-mail jimsmith1780@gmail.com  

National Land Survey of Finland
e-mail pekka.tatila@nls.fi