The largest European mapping project is about to take off


COWI has been awarded a frame contract to perform airborne laser scanning of approximately 75 percent of Sweden's territory over the next 2-5 years. This project will be the largest of its kind in Europe. The project has been initiated by the demands from the forestry industry, requesting up-to-date laser data in its management and planning.  

More than half of Sweden is covered by forest, and the forestry industry is dependent on having up-to-date laser data to perform high-quality estimates of timber volume, growth and other parameters for the management and development of the Swedish forest.  

To meet these demands, the Swedish government and the forestry sector have together initiated a major mapping project covering an area of 350.000 km². This includes most of Sweden's land area except for the mountain chain up north. 

Large project, big challenges

Although COWI has done several national scannings of both Denmark and Lithuania, Sweden poses a far greater challenge, Market Director of Mapping & Surveying in COWI, Steen Davidsen explains:  

“In Europe, Sweden is rather unique as it stretches further north with long distances. Up north, the airports are further apart and harsh weather can affect the laser scanning sensors," he says. 

The airborne sensors can operate both day and night but not in rain, snow, fog or in case of low hanging clouds, because the planes with the laser scanning sensors fly more than two kilometres above ground.

Security in focus

The challenges of a project of this magnitude do not only reside in the air.  

"There are very strict requirements to be met in terms of data security. Everybody involved with access to the data have to be cleared by the Swedish Security Authorities,” Market Manager COWI Mapping in Sweden, Hans Strandberg, explains.

Further, the captured data is not allowed to leave the country and all processing will take place in special office facilities with a closed IT-environment and no online access. 

New Nation-wide Laser Scanning of Sweden

  • COWI has obtained a two-year frame contract starting this year with the option to extend it for three more years. It has a potential total order value of 70-100 million SEK.
  • The project is financed partly by the Swedish government through Skogsstyrelsen and Lantmäteriet, and partly by the Swedish forestry sector.
  • The project will cover an area of approximately 350.000 km² (target 70.000 km² a year). This includes most of Sweden's land area except for the mountain chain up north. 
  • Two aircrafts and sensors will be dedicated to the project for the first two years.

Get in contact

Simon Musäus

Simon Musäus
Senior Vice President
Division Management, Denmark

Tel: +45 41760233