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NameSampo: A Linked Open Data Infrastructure and Workbench for Toponomastic Research

One of the Institute for the Languages of Finland's archives, the Names Archive contains valuable information for onomasticians and linguists, as well as for archaeologists, historians, folklorists, and natural scientists. The corpora of place names in the Names Archive was converted into a digital archive in 2014–2017. The objective of the project was to convert the place name entry slips, collection maps, and the attribute and metadata related to them into digital format.

The goal of the NameSampo project is to first convert, enrich and publish the ditized Names Archive as Linked Open Data. After that, the focus is on creating a flexible, easy to use workbench of search, data analytic, and visualization tools by utilizing the Linked Data infrastructure, various external map and data sources, and a collaborative workflow between onomasticians and computer scientists. The intent is that a wide variety of toponomastic research questions can be addressed interactively using a web browser.

Portal and Linked Data Service Online

NameSampo portal is online at nimisampo.fi after Feb 1, 2019.

NameSampo is based on a Linked Data Service published on the Linked Data Finland platform (http://ldf.fi).

The old maps used in NameSampo, Senaatin Atlas (1:21 000 topographic) and Karelian Maps (1:100 000 topographic) are available for use in the MapWarper service (Tiles, WMS, and KML interfaces).

Source code is available on GitHub.


Our work was supported by the University of Helsinki Future Fund.

Contact Persons

Eero Hyvönen, University of Helsinki (HELDIG) and Aalto University

Esko Ikkala, Aalto University and University of Helsinki (HELDIG)

Jouni Tuominen, University of Helsinki (HELDIG)

Team at the University of Helsinki: Terhi Ainiala, Jaakko Raunamaa, and Tiina Aalto

Representative of Kotus, Institute for the Languages of Finland: Helinä Uusitalo



Esko Ikkala, Eero Hyvönen, Heikki Rantala and Mikko Koho: Sampo-UI: A Full Stack JavaScript Framework for Developing Semantic Portal User Interfaces. Semantic Web – Interoperability, Usability, Applicability, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 69-84, January, 2022. Online version published in 2021, print version in 2022. bib pdf link
Eero Hyvönen: Digital Humanities on the Semantic Web: Sampo Model and Portal Series. 2022. Semantic Web journal, aceepted. bib pdf link


Eero Hyvönen: Semantic Sampo Portals for Digital Humanities Based on a National Linked Open Data Infrastructure. 2020. White paper, Aalto University, Semantic Computing Research Group (SeCo). bib pdf
Eero Hyvönen: Sampo Model and Semantic Portals for Digital Humanities on the Semantic Web. DHN 2020 Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries. Proceedings of the Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries 5th Conference, pp. 373-378, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, vol. 2612, Riga, Latvia, October, 2020. bib pdf link


Eero Hyvönen: Historiallinen paikkatieto semanttisessa webissä: Biografiasampo. Positio, no. 1, Maanmittauslaitos, February, 2019. bib pdf


Esko Ikkala, Jouni Tuominen, Jaakko Raunamaa, Tiina Aalto, Terhi Ainiala, Helinä Uusitalo and Eero Hyvönen: NameSampo: A Linked Open Data Infrastructure and Workbench for Toponomastic Research. Proceedings of the 2nd ACM SIGSPATIAL Workshop on Geospatial Humanities, GeoHumanities 18, pp. 2:1-2:9, ACM, Seattle, WA, USA, November, 2018. bib pdf link
This paper presents a series of projects where one of the main sources for toponomastic research in Finland, the corpora of place names in the Names Archive database of the Institute for the Languages of Finland, was digitized and how the resulting database was converted, enriched and published as Linked Open Data using a data processing pipeline. Utilizing the Linked Data infrastructure and various external data sources, a modern full-stack web application, NameSampo, was created in collaboration between toponomastic researchers and computer scientists for searching, analyzing, and visualizing digital toponomastic data sources.
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