Research infrastructures and stations for geosciences and geography

The Department of Geosciences and Geography has modern research laboratories, databases, and a national seismic station network. Our laboratories serve research groups and provide analysis services for various purposes. Some of our laboratories also produce data and time series for use in the Department’s research and teaching.

Research infrastructures

HelLabs is a laboratory infrastructure for geophysics, environmental research and mineralogy. It provides analytical services and various opportunities for physical and chemical analyses.

Read more about the laboratory operations on the HelLabs website.

The Geoinformatics Laboratory, located in the Physicum building on Kumpula Campus, comprises four adaptable facilities for teaching and working. Partitions enable the facilities to be arranged in various ways to accommodate the needs of courses and workshops. Each work space in the laboratory is equipped with a desktop and, depending on the laboratory facility, one to two displays. Each laboratory facility also has a fixed data projector or smartboard and a sound system. There are a total of 46 (12+12 and 11+11) workstations, including those of the teachers.


The Geoinformatics Laboratory maintains a wide range of software used in the field. They include both commercial products provided by market leaders and open-source software. In addition to providing basic education in geoinformatics, the laboratory is well equipped for comprehensive studies of remote sensing methods, as well as for data processing and urban planning. Thanks to various software, the laboratory offers versatile support for students and researchers at different stages of work, from collecting data in the field and extracting them from different devices (GPS, GNSS, UAV, measuring devices) to analysing data and publishing the results.

Examples of software

  • ArcGis and ArcGis Pro
  • MapInfo
  • Erdas Imagine
  • Pix4D
  • Microstation
  • QGis
  • SagaGis


The staff and students of the Department of Geosciences and Geography have access to numerous Finnish spatial datasets and data resources produced in various projects.

The access rights and download methods vary depending on the resource, but most of the data are available for scientific research purposes and/or study on the University’s computers. As a rule, permission to publish maps based on the data must be specifically requested from the data providers.

The Earth Change Observation Laboratory applies remote sensing methods to study physical, biological and societal changes, especially in the southern hemisphere.

Read more on the Earth Change Observation Laboratory website.

The BioGeoClimate Modelling Lab focuses on spatial and temporal modelling of the Earth, especially in the research fields of biogeography, geomorphology and climatology.

Read more on the website of the BioGeoClimate Modelling Lab.

The national seismic observatory is operated at the Institute of Seismology. It maintains the national seismic observation station network and several local networks. The continuous observation data of them is used at the institute for scientific research, monitoring seismology and development of seismological methods. The observatory collaborates with universities of Oulu, and Uppsala, and with other organizations that maintain seismic observation stations in Finland and adjacent areas.

Read more about the operations on the Institute of Seismology seismic observatory pages.

The Finnish participation in the European level research infrastructure EPOS (European Plate Observing System) is coordinated by the Institute of Seismology. FIN-EPOS is a national node of EPOS and it’s a joint community of Finnish universities and research institutes maintaining geophysical observatories and laboratories in Finland. FIN-EPOS sets the national long-term research infrastructure plan for the solid Earth sciences, oversees the Finnish participation in European and Nordic level initiatives related to EPOS and aims to increase the user base of EPOS. There is an ongoing national governmental process for Finland to join EPOS ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) as a member country (joining foreseen 2022). 

Read more on the FIN-EPOS pages.

Under the FIN-EPOS umbrella, Institute of Seismology coordinates an Academy of Finland funded FLEX-EPOS – project (Flexible instrument network for enhanced geophysical observations and multi-disciplinary research). Its objective is to create a national infrastructure of geophysical instruments and multi-disciplinary geophysical superstations to be further utilized in other research projects aiming at solving fundamental scientific questions in seismology, geomagnetism and geodesy.

Read more on the FLEX-EPOS pages.

The NOW (New and Old Worlds) mammal database contains comprehensive data about Cenozoic land mammal taxa and localities from Europe, North America and Africa.

Read more about the NOW database.

Taita research station

Taita Research Station, the University of Helsinki’s multidisciplinary research station in the Kenyan Taita Hills, opened in 2011. Taita Research Station is nature’s own laboratory, ideally suited to research in fields such as the natural sciences, social sciences, ecology and evolutionary biology, plant and animal systematics and microbial ecology. The facilities of TAITA are especially utilised by our department’s Earth Change Observation Laboratory (ECHOLAB) staff who also lead and coordinate its operations.