The purpose and designers of the Lipas system

Lipas Liikuntapaikat.fi is a national database of sport facilities, routes for outdoor activities and recreation areas. The database includes data on public sport facilities in Finland, especially of the municipal ones. Also a number of sites run by private companies or associations are listed in the database. The data are produced by experts of municipal sport services in collaboration with other local departments and also by associations for recreation areas and various sports federations. In addition, the Lipas project involves monitoring and supplementing the quality and coverage of the data.

What counts as a sport facility in the Li­pas database?

In the Lipas database, the term ’sport facility’ comprises facilities constructed specifically for sports (e.g. sport halls and football fields), routes equipped for sport and outdoor activities (e.g. fitness training and skiing tracks and hiking routes) and particular areas with facilities for recreation and outdoor activities. These sport facilities, outdoor activity routes or recreation areas need to be publicly available as well as appropriately maintained and equipped. Places and areas available merely on the basis of everyman’s right are not recorded in the Lipas database. For example, a recreation area (a local park, outdoor activity park or equivalent) needs to be marked in the regional building plan or otherwise established by decision, and must have some equipment or facilities for outdoor activities. 

In the Lipas system, different sport facilities are categorised by their type (download the list from here). The main categories can be defined by different criteria. Table 1 shows the distribution of Lipas data across the main categories of sport facilities. The sport facility categories were revised in 2012 in collaboration with municipalities, the Ministry of Education and Culture, regional sports administration and sports researchers.

Table 1. Main categories of sports facilities in the Lipas database

Number (11/2017 Lipas liikuntapaikat.fi).

Recreation sites and services


Outdoor arenas and sport parks


Indoor sport facilities


Water sport sites


Cross-country sport sites


Boating, aviation and motor sports


Animal sports


Maintenance buildings





In the Lipas database, ’sport facility’ is a broad term that covers all sites recorded in the database. Some of these ’sport facilities’ are auxiliary support services and structures for sports and other physical activities (e.g. under the categories of guidance point, cooking shelter, outdoor camping facility, maintenance building).

The sport facilities are not mutually comparable, since the way to define them varies widely across different categories. For example, a track-and-field arena with its many performance sites is counted as one sport facility, whereas a sports hall with places and equipment for different sports may be regarded as one or several facilities, depending on the accountant. Also the sizes of sport facilities vary to a great extent (a multi-purpose hall vs. a small local site).

Sport facilities may serve different purposes in different seasons. Lipas collects data on various facilities as comprehensively as possible. This means that the same physical facility may be recorded into two or even three different categories reflecting different seasonal usage (e.g. summer/winter). Therefore, the total number usually requires an explanation of the counting criteria. The most important thing, however, is that there is a comprehensive set of data on the sport facilities and the data are also available to people engaged in different physical activities as well as to the maintainers and financers of these facilities.


Why are these data collected?

The Lipas database collects essential information about sport facilities in Finland. Once the data from the whole country have been collected into a unified database, the data are readily applicable and widely available to everybody. The Lipas database is used, for example, when considering subsidies for the construction of sport facilities, when evaluating the provision and accessibility of sport facilities as well as in scientific research, in municipal self-assessments, and in various online services.

Data on the sport facilities are freely available

The data recorded in the Lipas database are publicly available and can be freely browsed at www.liikuntapaikat.fi (also at www.lipas.fi). Lipas also features a report application by which the users can make their own lists and statistics on the sport facilities.
Lipas data are delivered for use either as data samples or through certain interfaces to municipal online services, research and development purposes, company-based online services and public services. By entering their data to the Lipas database, a municipality gains plenty of visibility for their sport and recreation facilities. (Further information about interfaces)
The Lipas content is open data under the CC4.0 licence. According to this licence, the data can be used freely and free of charge, and the data may be enriched and utilised for business purposes. When using Lipas data, the source must be mentioned: University of Jyväskylä, Lipas database and the date of the sample. Due to our limited resources, we recommend that in applications intended for production purposes the data be downloaded to your own server.
Lipas data are updated continuously, so there may be variance between data samples drawn at different times. The bodies having participated in data collection for this database include the municipalities of Finland, the University of Jyväskylä, associations of recreation areas, Metsähallitus, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and a number of sports federations. These data collecting partners should also be mentioned when presenting Lipas data in public.

Lipas project


The Lipas system is developed by the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, various authorities of regional administration, municipalities, environmental administration, sports federations and other organisations, and the maintainers of sport facilities. Practical tasks related to the Lipas information system are carried out by the Lipas project of the University of Jyväskylä.
Lipas, the national database of sport facilities, has been developed for more than two decades, and the technical applications of data collection and usage have evolved and changed over the years. The present Lipas system was launched in 2013. Municipalities account for entering their local sport facility data in the system.

The Lipas project is led by Head of Faculty Administration Heikki Herva from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä. The project manager is Kirsi Vehkakoski. The person in charge of data management within the project is Anne Lamberg. The Lipas system is developed and maintained by the University of Jyväskylä. System-level maintenance belongs to the University’s IT Services, while the application-level maintenance services are provided by Norppandalotti Software Ky. User support is provided by the Lipas project.

The Lipas project operates in a networked fashion in collaboration with various parties. For example, user trainings are organised in collaboration with regional sport administration.

The Lipas project has received operational funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture.