Norwegian Mapping Authority

The Norwegian Mapping Authority collects, systematises, manages and disseminates public spatial information at a high level of precision, to the benefit of our users and society as a whole. As the national Land Registry authority, we secure rights in real property and housing cooperative shares through effective registration services.

The Mapping Authority leads and manages the work on the national infrastructure for spatial information. The regions we are responsible for include the Norwegian land areas, coastal regions and seas.

As the national expert authority in our disciplinary areas, we are responsible for the national development in these areas, and must as well contribute to the international development in the field. The Mapping Authority is a public agency under the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation.


A national infrastructure

The Mapping Authority’s most important task is to establish and manage a national infrastructure of geographic information and public property information. This work takes place through Norway Digital, a public sector collaboration, and includes close cooperation with local municipalities and large public producers and users of geographic information. The Norwegian Mapping Authority organises and manages this collaboration.

Our responsibilities include:

  • a national geodetic reference frame
  • services for accurate remote sensing of coordinates
  • the production and management of national digital map series (land and nautical)
  • the production of national printed map series (land and nautical) and publications (nautical)
  • registration of real property and shares in housing cooperatives
  • the operation of the national registries for public property information (The New Cadastre and the Land Registry)
  • national standards for maps and geographic information
  • the coordination and management of the work on the national infrastructure for geographic information through the public sector collaboration Norway Digital
  • the dissemination of data and services
  • the operation of the international electronic navigational chart centre, Primar



The Mapping Authority’s operation is financed through the state commission that is included in the budget of the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation. In addition, the Mapping Authority’s collaborator contributes significant resources to joint mapping projects through joint financing.

The Mapping Authority also receives income from the sale of maps, mapping data and property information.


Areas of responsibility

The Norwegian Mapping Authority has two main roles that are closely intertwined

  • Norway Digital
    We lead and manage the work on the national geographic infrastructure through the public sector collaboration Norway Digital.
  • National authority and production
    We carry out tasks related to our roles as a national authority, a national expert agency and a national producer of geographic information. We also disseminate data sets and services, and promote increased use of spatial data.


Norway Digital

Norway Digital is the Norwegian government’s initiative to build the national geographical infrastructure. Norway Digital is since 2005 a working co-operation and infrastructure with reference data and thematic data available, more than 100 operational web map services, geoportal and other services. Thus Norway Digital is an existing implementation of the infrastructure described by the European Inspire-directive.”

Norway Digital is a broad collaboration between public sector agencies and businesses that are responsible for the production of spatial information and/or are large consumers of such information. The collaboration mainly includes public agencies such as municipalities, counties, energy companies and national agencies. There are more than 600 partners participating in the collaboration.

Through Norway Digital, all public spatial information that the parties are responsible for, are made available to the parties themselves and to the general public. All parties make an annual financial contribution to the collaboration.

The Norwegian Mapping Authority coordinates and leads the national and regional collaborations. We are responsible for the organisational agreements as well as the technical agreements that the collaboration is based on, and we ensure that these agreements are observed.

We must ensure that there are guidelines, systems and routines for the collection of data and for entering the data in the data bases. We are responsible for the development and facilitation of national standards and for ensuring that the partners comply with these.

The Norwegian Mapping Authority also develops and operates services that make both data and metadata within Norway easily accessible digitally on the internet and to the users (

Norway Digital will continue to be an important superstructure for large parts of the Mapping Authority’s activities. is an important node for available geographic information in Norway.

State commission and joint financing

The Mapping Authority’s governance and production tasks are defined by the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation through the state commission in the annual Budget Propositions.

The geodetic task, nautical charting and management tasks are fully funded through the National Budget (state commission). The work on establishing and managing basic spatial data for the land areas largely takes place in collaboration with municipalities and other large public users of maps through joint financing schemes within the Geovekst collaboration. This collaboration includes 356 municipalities (merging of municipalities from 2020), the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Telenor, energy companies, agricultural producers and the Mapping Authority. The Geovekst collaboration is a very important supplier of data to Norway Digital.


Data sets freely available for downloading

In 2013, several data sets were made available for free downloading. These data sets are:

  • Topographic map data bases in scales 1:50.000 to 1:5 million in vector and raster format, called N50-N5.000 Map Data  and N50-N5.000 Raster Data)
  • Administrative boundaries
  • Road data with addresses
  • Digital Terrain Models, with resolution 10×10 meters and 50×50 meters.
  • Place names
  • Historical maps. The Mapping Authority has about 10.000 historical land maps in different scales, from as far back as the 1700s, and we have approximately 500 historical charts and documents from as far back as the 1500s.
  • Nautical data are intended for purposes other than navigation. Nautical data involves depth data (marine primary data), sea terrain models and depth curves.
Example of historical map available at, Smålenenes amt nr. 10, 1703: Carte von Oberberg.

Crowd sourcing

In January 2013, the Norwegian Mapping Authority officially launched their website for crowd sourcing.  Here the public can contribute to NMA’s maps and data, both by pointing out errors and by submitting new features. This website is called “Rett i kartet (“Fix the Map’), and can be found at It is designed for easy use also on tablets and smartphones, and contributions are made by sketching in the map, or by importing GPX-files for more accurate contributions. In 2018, the public submitted 4777 contributions, and each contribution often includes several features.

Crowd sourcing solution “Rett i kartet” running on Windows Phone.


The Norwegian Mapping Authority is organised in four divisions: The Geodetic Institute, Mapping and Cadastre and the Land Registry are located in Hønefoss headquarter, while the Hydrographic Service is located in Stavanger. In addition, we have 12 county mapping offices, as well as a regional office of the Land Registry in Ullensvang in Hardanger. Our customer service centre is also located in Ullensvang. We have a geodetic earth observatory in Ny-Ålesund on Svalbard.

The Land Mapping Division

This division is responsible for producing and managing mapping data and other geographic information about the land areas. The Division collaborates with municipalities and other public agencies. The County Mapping Offices maintain a collaborative relationship with the respective counties.

The division is responsible for updating and administering the national map databases N50-N5000 Map Data, the topographical national map series Norway 1:50 000, nationwide terrain models and coordination and operation of the National Programme for Orthophotography. The division also manages historical mapping, aerial photography materials and operates a registry of air traffic obstacles.

The Land Mapping Division is located at the Norwegian Mapping Authority’s headquarters in Hønefoss, but also has twelve regional offices, ranging from Kristiansand in the south to Tromsø in the north. The regional offices coordinate work on geographical information, which is provided locally by the various municipalities and public agencies. The Land Mapping Division plays an important role in regard to coordinating and facilitating work on planning, area, environmental and community information at both national and regional levels. This is a partnership between the municipalities, regions and other public operators.

The National Elevation Model of Norway

The Norwegian Mapping Authority (NMA) started in 2016 a mapping program which aim is to generate a new detailed elevation model based on LiDAR and image matching. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernization and 7 other national government bodies sponsor the project. The goal is to have a complete new set of national elevation and surface models at various detail levels by 2022 covering the whole country (325 000 km2) . All elevation datasets, both raw point clouds and derived grid products, collected in the program are open data and are freely available to everyone to use and republish. Terratec AS in Oslo was awarded the LiDAR acquisition and the processing in the project back in 2016. A total of 229 000 km2 are to be covered by minimum 2p/m2 LiDAR. Per May 2019, more than 140 000 km2 has been scanned, processed and delivered by Terratec AS. (Terratec deliver to NMA for quality control in a two-stage process: QC1 is carried out on an auto classified dataset and is designed to identifying operational issues such as sensor calibration, strip adjustment, point density and coverage. After the dataset passes QC1 the contractor will carry out further work on the classification, resulting in a final delivery of the point cloud. 1m elevation contours are also generated and delivered to the NMA).

In addition to the contracted deliveries, existing LiDAR data of good quality are utilized to achieve a countrywide elevation model of good quality. In areas with high mountain plateaus, the elevation model will be generated using photogrammetric image matching using existing or new images from large coverage aerial surveys. The total area is approximately 39 000km2 and are produced inhouse at the Mapping Agency.

In order to maintain and distribute the elevation datasets, NMA got a solution built using an ESRI based platform. The aim of this data management system is to hold all raw and derived elevation data and distribute these via download, webpage and web map services. The web portal is available at, also in an English version.
The system consist of a data management module and a data access module. In the data management module, the contractor themselves uploads the point cloud and metadata and the system then carries out a set of logical tests before the dataset is flagged for external QC. Once passed the external QC the system generates high resolution DTM and DOM grids and publish these as web map services.

In the data access module, the datasets can be visualized using a variety of web map services such as height, hillshade, inclination, local height, skyview etc. These layers can also be viewed in via the portal In addition, a 3D viewer makes it possible to look at and manipulate the point cloud for each project. All export of both raw point cloud and grid models are handled by in the portal. Project status/progress can be followed at a dynamic map (weekly updated):

Example from DTM hill shade with elevation colors

Automatic generalization of Map Data

The first acceptable map made by automatic generalization, was produced just a few years ago. Since then, several National Mapping Authorities (NMAs) around Europe have been working with automatic generalization, with promising results. As a National Mapping Authority we always work towards higher efficiency and improvement of our established production lines. Since Norway lacks the 1:100 000 scale and perceives the potential for more efficient map production, we started the project “AG N100” in the beginning of 2018. The map data source used in the project has the scale
1: 50 000 (N50 Map Data), and is the largest scale covering all of Norway with equal quality.

The two maps are illustrating the differences between contour lines for N50 Map Data and N100 Map Data. The left map is from N50 Map Data. The right map is from the N100 Map Data. The automatic generalized N100 Map Data is not entirely finished, so there are features missing in the map to the right.


The Geodetic Institute

The Institute is responsible for the national geodetic reference frame. This is the basis for all determinations of coordinates, surveying and mapping. The Institute operates the national services for remote sensing of coordinates, Dpos and Cpos. It also provides surveys and determinations of national reference frames, geoid and height reference surfaces, orthometric height and land uplift.


The Mapping and Cadastre Division

This division is responsible for producing and managing mapping data and other geographic information about the land areas. The Division collaborates with municipalities and other public agencies. The County Mapping Offices maintain a collaborative relationship with the respective counties. The Division is responsible for the new national registry of public property information, The New Cadastre (matrikkelen). The Division also manages the tasks related to the Act on Place Names (Lov om stedsnavn), the National Registry of Aviation Hazards and administrative boundaries, and protects historic maps and aerial photographs. The Division heads the public sector collaboration Norway Digital on behalf of the entire Norwegian Mapping Authority.

The Cadastre and Land Registry

The Norwegian Mapping Authority’s Cadastre and Land Registry is the national agency for property rights registration of fixed property and flats in cooperative housing. The Cadastre and Land Registry ensures that property rights are registered at the right time and administers land registry data. The land registry is a public register of official documents relating to fixed property. The division is also responsible for the New Cadastre (matrikkelen) and handles administrative tasks relating to the Norwegian Place Names Act and administrative borders.

The New Cadastre (matrikkelen), the national property registry, is continually updated in partnership with the municipalities. The New Cadastre contains information and maps concerning all properties, addresses and buildings in Norway. The municipalities are in charge of local cadastral services and are responsible for entering information into the registry. The Norwegian Mapping Authority is the central cadastral authority with responsibility for the development, operation and administration of the New Cadastre.

The Norwegian Mapping Authority is also responsible for training, guidance and inspection in regard to the way in which the municipalities enter data into the registry. Cadastre and property rights registration is provided from the Norwegian Mapping Authority’s headquarters in Hønefoss, which also has a property rights registration section.

Hydrographic Service

The Norwegian Mapping Authority Hydrographic Service (NHS) is responsible for preparing and updating nautical charts, and covers all marine and coastal waters in Norway and around Svalbard, as well as polar waters.

Official nautical charts
NHS is the only authorized producer of official nautical charts in Norway, and vessels over a certain size are obliged to use these charts. As well as cartographical work, NHS is also responsible for information about tidal waters and currents.

Safe navigation
NHS is required to facilitate safe and effective navigation in Norwegian coastal and marine areas. NHS undertakes this task by gathering, administering, processing and publishing official maritime information to a range of user groups.

Charting the ecosystem
While safe coastal navigation takes top priority, NHS’s deep-water database is also useful for other purposes, including coastal zone planning and administration of fisheries. As a supplier of deep-water data, NHS helps to improve knowledge of the structure, mode of operation and status of the marine ecosystem. This knowledge provides a framework for establishing sustainable management of coastal and marine areas in Norway.

International nautical charts
NHS has operational responsibility for Primar, the international nautical chart service. This supplies official electronic nautical charts for international shipping for most of the world.

Cartographic activity
NHS is responsible for official navigational charts, both digital (ENCs) and paper charts. Cartography is most appropriate in designing paper charts where there are traditional requirements for readability. Cartography in nautical charts is defined by the standards of the IHO. The NHS also supplies terrain models, raster files, hydrographic originals and datasets to different purposes. About 20 persons work in the Chart section, updating existing charts and compiling new charts.

Traditionally chart. The view is from Andenes in Nordland.


Wreck at 300 meters depth in the Barents Sea. The Wreck in approximately 130 m long and 15 m wide. Picture from MAREANO/Kartverket.

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