Struve Geodetic Arc – tape measure of the world

The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulation measurements stretching from the Arctic Sea to the Black Sea. The Arc was used to measure the shape and size of the Earth in the 19th century. The Struve Geodetic Arc is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Six of the station points that have been selected to represent the entire Arc on the World Heritage List are located in Finland. The station points have historical importance, but they also offer excellent views of the surrounding area.

The triangulation measurements were started in 1816 and they were completed in 1855. The triangulation chain comprises 258 main triangles and 265 geodetic vertices. The northernmost station point is located near Hammerfest in Norway and the southernmost point near the Black Sea in Ukraine. The Struve Geodetic Arc has also been called the Russo-Scandinavian meridian measurement, because originally the Arc remained within two kingdoms.

A part of our common world heritage

In 2005, the Struve Geodetic Arc was accepted into the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Struve Geodetic Arc represents the cultural heritage of science and technology.

Today, the station points are located in ten countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. The Struve Geodetic Arc was accepted into the World Heritage List following a joint proposal by these countries. A total of 34 station points have been selected for preservation. Six of these are located in Finland.

More information about World Heritage in Finland is available on the website of the National Board of Antiquities (in Finnish).

Struve Geodetic Arc World Heritage Sites in Finland

  • Mustaviiri
  • Porlammi
  • Oravivuori
  • Alatornio Church
  • Aavasaksa
  • Stuor-Oivi or Stuorrahanoaivi