The National Land Survey of Sweden was established in the year 1628 by King Gustav II Adolf. He instructed mathematician and cartographer Anders Bure to educate a team of land surveyors and carry out a systematic mapping of Sweden in its entirety.
Initially cadastral mapping began with geometrical (large scale) mapping of rural properties, villages, and towns etc. These earlier maps were drawn to a scale of 1:4 000. Cadastral mapping developed from the middle of the 1600’s with extensive geographical mapping. Mapping included parishes, hundreds, provinces, coasts, islands, archipelagos, waterways and roads. These maps which were drawn in scales between 1:10 000 and 1:150 000 often show a large geographical district and are included in the Land Survey Board archive.
The addition of an Inspector meant that the National Land Survey became more independent towards the end of the 1600’s and offices were established in Sweden’s residential cities. It was also at this time that geometrical mapping become a prominent part of the land surveyors work again. This was appropriate due to the impact of the three great land reforms on Sweden’s former main industry, agriculture. In earlier times arable land was fragmented as a result of centuries of inheritance and marriages. The purpose therefore, was to adjust and amalgamate these small pieces of land to create as few holdings as possible.
Large scale maps had many purposes throughout time and were used among other reasons for tax settlements, ownership disputes and distribution.
Because of the great significance of these maps the question of archiving has always been important. Maps and their corresponding documentation were stored separately from the administrative documentation. The increase in regional activities during the first half of the 1800’s brought the safe-keeping of the archive into focus. It was often the reason for the establishment of a more permanent location in conjunction with the other state administrations in the residential cities.
Economic and topographic mapping became more systematic in the 1800’s and this gave rise to the creation of the Geographical Survey Archive. This archive contains small scale maps created from the middle of the 1800’s until the end of the 1970’s, and includes economic maps, topographic (ordnance survey) maps and the hundred map (economic map of a hundred).
All the maps and corresponding cadastral documentation which have been created since the inception of the National Land Survey have become meticulously archived. This map collection is unique in the world and includes more than a million historical maps.