People & contact

Associate Professor of Geoinformatics (tenure track), PhD

Tuuli is a tenure track professor of geoinformatics and leads the multidisciplinary Digital Geography Lab at the Department of Geosciences and Geography. Her research explores the possibilities of using novel (big/open) data sources and spatial analyses to support environmental and sustainable land use planning and decision-making. Tuuli has studied both urban systems and more natural environments on various scales from the global to the local. Together with the team, she has developed and applied a wide range of methods for analysing spatial patterns and processes related to accessibility and mobility, as well as biodiversity conservation, utilising data from social media and mobile phone data in addition to more traditional data sources. Her research benefits from methods from a variety of fields and often involves interdisciplinary collaboration.

Tuuli has taught geoinformatics at the university level for more than 20 years and participates actively in the societal processes in the field. She is a great fan of open data and open science and interested in the implications of openness for education, research and society.



Assistant Professor of English Language and Digital Humanities (tenure track), PhD

Tuomo holds a PhD in English philology (2014) from the University of Helsinki. His research focuses on the multimodality of human communication, that is, how natural language and various forms of visual communication interact and cooperate with each other in different communicative situations. In addition to authoring several journal articles and book chapters, he has published two monographs on multimodality, entitled The Structure of Multimodal Documents (Routledge, 2015) and Multimodality: Foundations, Research and Analysis (De Gruyter, 2017, with John A. Bateman and Janina Wildfeuer).

At the Digital Geography Lab, Tuomo develops approaches that draw on recent advances in natural language processing, computer vision and machine learning, whose application is informed by theories of multimodal communication. He is also pursuing research on the linguistic landscape of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, that is, which languages are spoken and where, in order to better understand the distribution of languages in space and time, and the potential for language contact.

Before joining the Digital Geography Lab in 2017 on a personal grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Tuomo worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Applied Language Studies at the University of Jyväskylä. As of 2018, Tuomo is Assistant Professor of English Language and Digital Humanities at the Department of Languages.


University lecturer, PhD

Petteri is a university lecturer in geoinformatics and an adjunct professor (title of docent) in biogeography. He has mainly studied various biogeography and forestry themes in the boreal forest environment. For example, he has studied carbon sequestration and the carbon cycle, biomass surveys and monitoring, spatial autocorrelation of soil characteristics, landscape fragmentation, habitat changes, and remote sensing of forest landscapes. Geoinformatics (GIS and remote sensing) has been present in some way in all of his research topics. In addition to research, he also has a teaching qualification as a subject teacher of geography and biology. Due to his background as a teacher, he has recently expanded his research topics to also cover the pedagogy of geography and educational sciences.

Petteri supervises PhD theses, MSc theses and BSc theses in the fields of geoinformatics and the pedagogy of geography. He also teaches geoinformatics and GIS in various master’s and bachelor’s level courses.


Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

Age holds a PhD degree in human geography from the University of Tartu. Her research interests are in the field of human–environment spatial interactions: sustainability, activity space and mobility studies based on GPS and mobile phone data, environmental exposure assessment, greenspace governance, and urban planning more broadly. During her master’s and doctoral studies, she developed an ecological footprint calculator and examined how residential location affects consumption patterns and environmental load. She has lectured on environmental management and environmental/strategic impact assessment at the University of Tartu for over a decade. Age is also an assistant editor for the SAGE peer-reviewed journal Big Data & Society.



Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

Henna holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2015) and an MSc (Adm.) in Environmental Policy (2008). Her long-term interest is to develop analysis tools that help mitigate conflicts between biodiversity conservation targets and human land use. She specialises in making scenario forecasts for the persistence of wildlife under alternative land use scenarios for the future, e.g., in case of forest policy changes, climate-induced changes in wood product demand and supply, or rural desertification. She has expertise in applying colonisation–extinction models on species, which help to assess how species cope in temporally changing, spatially heterogeneous landscapes modified by human activity over longer time periods. These models help mitigate conflicts between human land use and species conservation goals by visualising and quantifying the effects of alternative land use options. Her current project with Joel Jalkanen, “Spatial Planning of Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” funded by the KONE foundation (2015), focuses on developing tools for the spatial prioritisation, visualisation and quantification of the costs and benefits of alternative urban green infrastructure and urban greening plans.



Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

Henrikki is a researcher and geo-data scientist at the Digital Geography Lab. His research focuses on multimodal spatio-temporal accessibility patterns and the spatial mobility of people. In his PhD, he developed new methodologies and tools for studying dynamic accessibility patterns, observing the spatial mobility of people, and understanding the social context associated with places. In his research, Henrikki uses novel data sources such as GPS, mobile phone and social media data, transportation schedules, etc. to search for answers to questions related to spatial planning in urban contexts and in relation to nature conservation. In addition, Henrikki teaches at the department, and has developed an open course for learning programming and automatisation of various GIS-related tasks using the Python programming language.



Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

Johanna works as a postdoctoral researcher in the group, and is broadly interested in questions related to evaluating the effectiveness of conservation actions and the factors affecting this, especially governance and funding. Currently she is working on projects attempting to disentangle the many links between different levels of governance and ecological outcomes of protected areas. She is also interested in developing new tools and methods for the evaluation of protected area effectiveness.

Johanna did her PhD with the Global Change and Conservation Lab at the Metapopulation Research Centre, University of Helsinki, and has experience of working with both protected area managers and local communities on the ground (Tanzania, Madagascar).



Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

Olle holds a joint PhD in human geography and regional planning (2013) from the University of Tartu and Ghent University. As a human geographer, his broad interdisciplinary research interests focus on human mobilities in spatial, temporal and social contexts from the individual to the aggregate level. He is particularly interested in how big data such as mobile phone and social media data can be used to examine individual spatial mobilities and behaviour, and how this can be interpreted and implemented in spatial planning and policy. In recent years, he has examined ways to integrate big data with accessibility modelling and what explains socio-spatial differences in human mobility. Olle is currently working on a new project “Crossing Social and Spatial Borders as an Everyday Life: Big Data to Reveal Transnational People, Their Mobilities and Spaces”.



PhD candidate, MSc

Elias is a PhD candidate whose thesis focuses on urban mobility patterns with active modes of travel. His research interest lies in citizens’ equal opportunities to use sustainable and health-promoting modes of travel. To study these issues, Elias integrates novel and big data such as mobile phone data and bike-sharing data with more traditional data sources like individual surveys.

Elias specialises in geoinformatics and his master’s thesis focused on mobility patters of the bike-sharing system users in Helsinki and how equally the system has served citizens. Elias was the head of the conference secretariat for the international NECTAR 2019 conference held in Helsinki in June 2019. Elias is also active in teaching and has co-created and teaches an inter-departmental course entitled Open GIS & Spatial Data Infrastructures while also assisting on several other courses.



PhD candidate, MSc

Joel is an urban ecologist/conservation biologist working on his PhD within the SPURBES project. His research focuses on conservation planning, especially spatial conservation prioritisation, in urban and regional land use planning contexts. His aim is to generate methods and approaches that benefit sustainable land use and planning and produce solutions that are both spatially explicit and contextually adequate. His research topics cover regional prioritisations that directly support regional zoning, and prioritisation of biodiversity and the accessibility of urban green areas. As Joel’s research takes place in the Uusimaa Province of Southern Finland and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, close collaboration with the local environmental and planning authorities is an essential part of his research.



PhD candidate, MSc

Kerli holds an MSc in human geography and regional planning from the University of Tartu. Her research focuses broadly on human socio-spatial interactions and mobility. In particular, she is interested in how novel big data sources such as social media data and mobile phone data can contribute to the better understanding of ethnic relations, integration and transnationalism. Kerli is currently working on her PhD project “Socio-Spatial Dialogues in the City: Tracing Spatial Mobilities, Social Engagement and Integration Using Big Data”.

Prior to joining the Digital Geography Lab in 2017, Kerli worked in public sector consultancy in the field of policy analysis and evaluation. With experience in both academic and applied research, she aims to advance cooperation between academia and public policy institutions for utilising state-of-the-art theoretical and empirical knowledge in the process of policy-making.



PhD candidate, MSc

Tuomas (MSc) is a PhD candidate at the Digital Geography Lab in the University of Helsinki. He is interested in understanding people’s spatio-temporal language use and activities extracted from big data sources like social media and mobile phone data using automatic content analysis techniques (namely computer vision and natural language processing) and spatial analysis techniques. His aim is to help cities become more equal and socially sustainable by expanding knowledge of urban people's language and activity diversity to better reflect the everyday life of urban people. Tuomas' PhD is a part of a research project focusing on mapping the linguistic landscape of the Helsinki metropolitan area. He also contributes to other research projects in the group related to big data analysis of cross-border mobilities and social media data for conservation science. Tuomas teaches and has co-created study materials for several masters-level GIS courses.


PhD candidate, MSc

Vuokko is working on her PhD thesis in the Social Media Data for Conservation Science project. In her thesis, she uses geotagged social media data to understand human–nature interactions in national parks and other green spaces, with a special focus on the potential and limitations of user-generated geographic information as a source of data. Vuokko is broadly interested in leveraging different types of geographical information sources and spatial analysis methods in the context of sustainable development goals. In addition to her research activities, Vuokko participates in the teaching of geoinformatics courses at the University of Helsinki, and is active in the local Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team volunteer community.



Visitor/collaborator/new member of the team

Are you interested in our work and would like to join us as a guest researcher or a visiting PhD student? Please email digital-geography[at] and let us know about your background and interests! We also encourage MSc students to contact us for potential thesis topics or internship related to our research themes.


Researchers, PhD students:

MSc students, research assistants:

  • Samuli Massinen, BSc (-2019)

  • Claudia Bergroth, BSc (-2019)

  • Jeison Lon­doño Es­pinosa, BSc (-2018)

  • Anna Haukka, MSc (2017-2018)

  • Ainokaisa Tarnanen, BSc (2016-2017)

  • Ludovic Chastenet, BSc (2017)

  • Laura Centore, BSc (2017)