EFGS 2018

Finding the Future together Helsinki

Welcome to the EFGS 2018 conference

The 11th European Forum for Geography and Statistics conference will take place in Helsinki from 16 to 18 October 2018 at the Marina Congress Center. The EFGS conference is the leading European conference focused on integration of statistics and geospatial information.

Under the motto “Finding the Future together”, the conference will give an opportunity for experts to share knowledge and best practices. We are particularly interested in hearing your experience on the following themes:

  • International and national cooperation.
  • Innovations, visualisation and data analysis
  • Statistical units and area classification
  • Benefits of integration of statistics and geospatial information
  • Sustainable Development Goals SDG indicators
  • New data, tools and technologies
  • Quality of data – confidence and trust
  • Urban data – smart city

The conference will be organised by Statistics Finland (StatFI) and the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS-FI) with support from the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) and the European Forum for Geography and Statistics (EFGS).

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Call for Abstracts

We are pleased to invite experts to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations to be delivered at the EFGS 2018 conference.

The conference programme will be compiled of the invited key note speakers’ and participants’ presentations based on abstract submissions. The abstracts and the corresponding presentations should stand for one of the conference themes.

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  • International and national cooperation

    This theme includes descriptions of results of fruitful cooperation under UNGGIM, EU/ECE and Eurostat or Eurogeographics. This theme may also include experiences on a national level in cooperation between authorities, especially between NSI and NMA. Also showcases for cooperation with universities are welcomed.

  • Sustainable Development Goals SDG indicators

    We would like to dedicate one session to efforts to compile SDG indicators by using geospatial data together with statistical data.

  • New data, tools and technologies

    Here, we call for examples where big data/new data is used as part of a solution and/or where a modern technology and approach is used to produce statistics and geospatial information (e.g. linked data, machine learning, shared/collective applications).

  • Innovations, visualisation and data analysis

    In this theme, we call for innovative solutions and approaches in the fields of visual presentations and data analysis.

  • Quality of data – confidence and trust

    We would like to see examples of how to increase confidence in and trust to data providers, how to solve a challenge for harmonising confidentiality rules and applications.

  • Statistical units and area classification

    In this very concrete theme, we would like to hear national implementations of the particular Inspire theme or an international or a national solution to serve customers with a never ending demand for territorial statistics.

  • Urban data – smart city

    We call for experiences of collecting, producing and disseminating urban data in a modern and efficient way.

  • Benefits of integration of statistics and geospatial information

    In this theme, we are looking for concrete user cases from global to local level. Although benefits are obvious, we would like to see more examples to promote the use of geospatial information in statistics or vice versa.

Abstract guidelines

We welcome your abstract submission by the deadline of 17 August 2018 to the address efgs2018@stat.fi.

Abstracts must be submitted in English and cannot be more than 250 words. It is the responsibility of the author to ensure that the abstract text does not contain any typos or grammatical errors.

You may use a Word or PDF format. Please name your abstract ” LastNameOfAuthor1(in capitals)_Abstract_EFGS2018”._

Once you submit your abstract, you should receive a confirmation email that we have received it. If you do not get this confirmation please contact the conference team at efgs2018@stat.fi.

Abstracts will be peer reviewed and acceptance will be based on content, available space, and overall program balance. Presenters of selected abstracts will be informed at the beginning of September 2018 together with further directions.

Submission of an abstract constitutes the authors consent for publication (e.g. EFGS 2018 website, programme etc.)

Papers and presentations

After your abstract has been accepted, please send us your paper and/or presentation to the same address: efgs2018@stat.fi by 1 October 2018 at the latest.

You may use a Word, Power Point or PDF format. Please name your paper and presentation as ” LastNameOfAuthor1(in capitals)_V(number of version of paper)_PAPER (PRESENTATION)_ EFGS2018″. The presentations and/or paper will be published on the conference website after the conference.



European Forum for Geography and Statistics

The European Forum for Geography and Statistics (EFGS) is a voluntary body, which allows for the exchange of ideas among a network of experts, mainly GIS specialists but also statisticians, researchers working in National Statistical Institutes (NSIs), experts from National Mapping and Cadastral Agencies (NMCAs) and also Eurostat, to provide spatial statistics for Europe. Many countries outside Europe are also active in EFGS and, therefore, EFGS is aiming to establish a global forum.

The main goal of EFGS is to promote the integration of statistical and geospatial information and the use of GIS in the public sector. In 2015, EFGS received the status of the official Observer Organization to UN-GGIM: Europe. EFGS also acts as a reference group to Eurostat and the project group for GEOSTAT projects.

The annual EFGS conferences are one of the main events for raising awareness among the community. In recent years the conference has attracted an expanding attendance, with the 2017 Dublin conference hosting more than 200 participants across all continents.

EFGS has its own website where you can find more information about the organisation and its activities. EFGS is also on Facebook.

Speakers and Programme

Key note speakers


Toni Ahlqvist (Ph.D.), Professor of Regional Development and Policy at the University of Oulu and Adjunct Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Turku.
His research focuses on regional planning and policy, spatial political economy, futures studies, and technology foresight. He has lead numerous research projects that have covered, e.g., emerging technologies, construction and uses of futures knowledge in organizations and regions, strategic development of industrial branches, such as forest industry in South Australia, and varied aspects of knowledge-based society. His most recent projects have dealt with potential societal antagonisms of radical emerging technologies and futures of land use planning in Finland. Prof. Ahlqvist’s research has been published in such journals as Technological Forecasting and Social Change, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, New Political Economy, Geopolitics, Geografiska Annaler A: Human Geography, Space and Polity, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, Futures, Foresight, and Science and Public Policy.


Julien Grunfelder (Ph.D.), Head of GIS department at Nordregio, is specialised in GIS, cartography, traffic analysis and regional planning. Julien has a Ph.D. degree in Urban and Territorial Studies at the University of Copenhagen (in cooperation with DTU Transport), where he studied the relation between urban spatial structure and commuting behaviours in two Danish urban regions with national directive. Previously, he worked at the Danish Transport Authority (Trafikstyrelsen) as a traffic planner and GIS-specialist. During his period at Nordregio, Julien has been actively involved in Nordic and European projects by collecting data, producing maps and developing reports, e.g. the ESPON project The World in Europe: Global FDI Flows towards Europe. Among others, Julien is the project leader of the Nordregio´s flagship report State of the Nordic Region, a report dealing with socio-economic indicators of the variety of municipal and regional territories of the Nordic Region. His mother tongue is French and can work in English and Scandinavian languages.


Ed Parsons is the Geospatial Technologist of Google, with responsibility for evangelising Google’s mission to organise the world’s information using geography. In this role he maintains links with Governments, Universities, Research and Standards Organisations which are involved in the development of Geospatial Technology. He is a member of the the Board of Directors of the Open Geospatial Consortium and was co-chair of the W3C/OGC Spatial Data on the Web Working Group. He is a Visiting Professor at University College London and an Executive Fellow at the University of Aberdeen Business School. Ed Parsons was the first Chief Technology Officer in the 200-year-old history of Ordnance Survey, and was instrumental in moving the focus of the organisation from mapping to Geographical Information. He came to the Ordnance Survey from Autodesk, where he was EMEA Applications Manager for the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Division.

Preliminary Programme (Updated June 2018)

Day 1, October 16th 2018
08.00 – 09.00 Registration
09.00 – 10.30 Conference Opening

Welcome Speech by

Statistics Finland — Marjo Bruun, Director General of Statistics Finland

National Land Survey of Finland — Arvo Kokkonen, Director General of the National Land Survey of Finland

EFGS — Janusz Dygaszewicz, President of the European Forum for Geography and Statistics

Eurostat — Ekkehard Petri, European Commission Eurostat-Gisco

10.30 – 11.00 Coffee Break
11.00 – 11.30 Keynote: Futures of Geographic Information in a Digitalising Society Toni Ahlqvist — Professor of Regional Development and Policy, University of Oulu, Finland
11.30 – 13.00 Session 1: International and National Cooperation Introduction by Chair — TBA
13.00 – 14.30 Lunch
14.30 – 16.00 Session 2: International and National Cooperation
16.00 – 16.30 Coffee Break
16.30 – 18.00 Session 3: Sustainable Development Goals, SDG indicators Introduction by Chair — Ari Tyrkkö, Statistics Finland
18.00 Closing of the Day
18.30 – 20.00 Reception by the City of Helsinki
Day 2, October 17th 2018
09.00 – 9.30 Keynote: The Informed Traveller, from Intelligent Maps to Flying Cars Ed Parsons — The Geospatial Technologist of Google, United Kingdom
09.30 – 11.00 Session 4: New Data, Tools and Technologies Introduction by Chair — Jani Kylmäaho, National Land Survey of Finland
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee Break
11.30 – 12.00 Keynote: The Delicate Exercise of Geo-data Visualization Julien Grunfelder — Head of GIS department at Nordregio, Sweden
12.00 – 13.30 Session 5: Innovations, Visualization and Data Analysis Introduction by Chair — Ian Cody, Office for National Statistics, United Kingdom
13.30 – 13.45 Group Photo
13.45 – 14.30 Lunch
14.30 – 16.00
Session 6: Quality of Data

Introduction by Chair — Carol Agius, Eurogeographics
Session 7: Statistical Units and Area Classifications Introduction by Chair — Pasi Piela, Statistics Finland
16.00 – 16.30 Coffee Break
16.30 – 18.00
Session 8: Confidence and Trust Introduction by Chair — TBA
Session 9: Urban Data – Smart City Introduction by Chair — Teodora Brandmueller, Eurostat
18.00 Closing of the day
19.30 – 22.00 Conference dinner and Lars H. Backer Prize
Day 3, October 18th 2018
09.30 – 11.00 Session 10: Benefits of integration of statistics and geospatial information Introduction by Chair — Rina Tammisto, Statistics Finland
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee Break
11.30 – 12.30 Panel discussion; A way forward TBA, EFGS, Eurographics, Eurostat, NSI,NMA
12.30 – 13.00 Conference Closing, Announcement of EFGS 2019 Conference
13.00 – 14.30 Lunch
14.30 – 16.00 EFGS General Assembly Chair — Janusz Dygaszewicz, President of EFGS
Secretary — Marina Backer Skaar, EFGS Secretary


Term for registration

The registration is open until 15 September 2018 or when the maximum number of conference participants have registered. The maximum number of participants is 200. It is highly recommended to register as soon as possible. Please note that the registration is only valid once you have received a confirmation from the organiser.


There is no registration fee. The conference is partly sponsored by Eurostat. Please note that spaces are limited. Cancellations, via email, will be accepted until 15 September 2018. Cancellations after this date or failure to attend the event will incur costs to the organiser: these may be invoiced to your organisation.


Lars H. Backer Prize

Lars_Backer_orig_rajattu2 The Lars H. Backer prize in memoriam of Lars H. Backer will be awarded for major contributions to the development of a geospatial foundation for official statistics or for significantly improving the relevance of geospatial statistics for evidenced-based decision making. Relevant activities include eminent work for the development of geospatial statistics, improving the access to geospatial information for statisticians, preparing relevant ground-breaking legislation, conducting high quality research on territorial development using geospatial statistics, development of innovative tools and software, or major achievements in training and education on creating and using geospatial statistics.

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Candidacy Criteria

Both individuals and organisations are eligible.

Process of Nomination and Selection

The deadline for nominations is the 15th of September. A nomination is considered valid if it is submitted by National Statistical Institutes, National Mapping Authorities or their employees. The Steering Committee of the European Forum for Geography and Statistics (EFGS) is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the selection of the Lars H. Backer Prize Laureate. The prize will be presented at the 2018 EFGS conference that will take place from 16 to 18 October 2018 in Helsinki.


In order to remain open to the various ways in which the qualities of a candidate may be conveyed, the Nomination Committee has introduced no special nomination submission form. The nomination need not be lengthy, but should include:

  • the name of the candidate,
  • an explanation of why the individual or organisation is considered by the nominator to be a worthy candidate for the Lars H. Backer Prize in light of the above criteria,
  • and the name, title and academic or professional affiliation of the nominator.

Submission Methods

Nominations should be sent to the President of the EFGS Mr Janusz Dygaszewicz by email (efgs.info@gmail.com). The title of the email should contain phrase ‘Lars Backer prize’.


Lars H. Backer was one of the founders and the long-standing executive director of the European Forum for Geography and Statistics. An urban planner and architect by education and passion, he worked for Statistics Sweden as a Senior Expert on geospatial information from 1995 until his retirement in 2009. When Sweden joined the EU, he became the Swedish representative in the GISCO working group.

During his professional career and as executive director of the EFGS he was, for many years, the leading figure within the European Statistical System for the integration of statistical and geospatial information. His main area of interest was designing and building an integrated geographical-statistical information system for the sustainable development of cities and regions. In addition to his professional achievements, he will always be remembered as a friend who shared not only his knowledge, but most importantly, his “vision” on a future built upon the humanistic values of tolerance, cooperation and friendship.

The prize was awarded in

  • 2016 to Marja Tammilehto-Luode, Statistics Finland
  • 2017 to Ekkehard Petri, Eurostat and Pier-Giorgio Zaccheddu, Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG), Germany


General directions


Conference Venue
See in the Helsinki map

Marina Congress Center has a fantastic location in the Helsinki city centre by the sea in Katajanokka, just a couple of minutes’ walk from Kauppatori market square and and two kilometers from Helsinki railway station.

The tram routes 4 and 5 run between city center and Katajanokka (the conference venue is close to the Kauppiaankatu tram stop). A tram 5 stop is in front of the Central Railway Station, a tram 4 stop is nearby on Mannerheimintie at ”the Lasipalatsi stop”. They both continue along Aleksanterinkatu.

More information on public transport routes and tickets here.

The Address to Marina Congress Center:

Katajanokanlaituri 6
00160 Helsinki, Finland

Tel. +358 9 473 99339 (switch board)
Fax +358 9 166 6734

scandic marina standard


You will find accommodation alternatives on the Helsinki tourist information website where you can find a link to hotel reservation services.

Scandic Grand Marina Hotel is located opposite to the Marina Congress Center. We have a pre-reservation quota at this hotel under the name “EFGS 2018” until the first of October 2018.

Our visitors have also stayed at the following hotels Sokos Hotel Vaakuna, Sokos Hotel Presidentti, Hotel Scandic Simonkenttä and Hotel Arthur. These hotels are located in the city centre.


From Airport to City Centre

By train:

  • Local trains I and P between the airport and city centre.
  • Operated by Helsinki Region Transport (HSL).
  • Every 10 minutes.
  • Timetables and routes
  • The journey to Helsinki takes 30 minutes.
  • The ticket costs EUR 5.50.

By taxi:

  • Taxis are available outside the doors.
  • Takes about 30 minutes.
  • Costs around EUR 45 between the airport and the city centre.

READ MORE – Arriving in Helsinki

helsinki efgs

Useful information

Banks and cash withdrawals
Banks are usually open Mon to Fri from 10 am to 4.30 pm. “OTTO” and “NOSTO” cash withdrawal automats accept all major bank and credit cards.

Tipping is not necessary nor expected in Finland. However if the service has been good it is nice/common to leave a small tip (5 to 10%) as a thank you.

Local time
EET (+2 GMT)

230 volts (50HZ), plugs conform to the northern European standard with 2 pins.

Drinking water
Tap water in Finland is fresh and clean and therefore a joy to drink

Useful telephone numbers

More Information
Weather in Finland
Statistics Finland
Helsinki Region Transport



efgs_contact_us_kuvaQuestions regarding conference, abstracts or social programme, please contact Marja Tammilehto-Luode or Leila Kaunisharju, Statistics Finland, email efgs2018@stat.fi

Questions regarding registration, please contact Eeva Herranen, SMT Oy, email groups@smt.fi.