People & contact

Tenure track professor of geoinformatics, 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 for supporting environmental and sustainable land use planning and decision-making. Tuuli has studied both urban systems and more natural environments at various scales from global to local. Together with the team, she has developed and applied a wide range of methods for analyzing spatial patterns and processes related to accessibility and mobility, as well as biodiversity conservation, utilizing 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 collaborations.

Tuuli has been teaching 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 to education, research and society.



Post-doctoral 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. To do so, 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 automatization of various GIS-related tasks using the Python programming language. Henrikki's work is funded by the DENVI doctoral programme: he is also a student representative in the board of DENVI. 



Post-doctoral researcher, PhD

Olle holds a joint PhD in human geography and regional planning (2014) 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 individual to 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 the enactment of population, and how this can be interpreted and implemented in spatial planning and policy. In recent years, he examined the ways to integrate big data to 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

Vuokko is currently working on her PhD as a part of the project Social Media Data for Conservation Science. Her thesis maps the opportunities and threats for nature conservation in national parks and other areas of high conservation value, focusing on the potential and limitations of social media as a source of data. More broadly, Vuokko is interested in mapping human-environment interactions and ecosystem services trough the combination of user-generated spatial data, earth observation data and other sources of spatial information. In addition to her thesis, Vuokko participates in teaching of geoinformatics courses at the University of Helsinki, and is active among the local Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team volunteer community.



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 language, photography, diagrams and other modes of expression interact and co-operate with each other in different communicative situations. In addition to 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).

Most recently, he has studied how computer vision and machine learning may be used to automate aspects of multimodal analysis, in order to scale up the volume of data. Before joining the Digital Geography Lab in 2017 on a personal grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Tuomo worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Applied Language Studies at the University of Jyväskylä. As of 2018, Tuomo is an assistant professor at the Department of Languages.



PhD candidate, MSc

Joel is an urban ecologist / conservation biologist working on his PhD. His research focuses on conservation planning, especially spatial conservation prioritization, in urban areas. His aim is to generate methods and approaches that benefit sustainable urban planning and produce solutions that are both spatially explicit and contextually adequate. To achieve this, he develops spatial prioritizations that account for a variety of factors that affect the urban socio-ecological system. These include for example urban biodiversity, ecosystem services, accessibility to green areas, and urban growth pressure. Furthermore, Joel studies how the prioritizations should be organized during the urban planning dialogue to gain socially and ecologically sustainable urban plans. As Joel´s research takes place in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, a close collaboration with the local environmental and planning authorities is an essential part of his research.



Post-doctoral researcher, PhD

Johanna works as a post-doctoral 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. For the moment she works 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, and has experience of working with both protected area managers and local communities on the ground (Tanzania, Madagascar).



Research assistant, MSc

Elias works as a research assistant organizing a scientific NECTAR conference in June 2019 and smaller scientific meetings. He is also starting his PhD studies at the Department of Geography focusing on urban mobility with active travel modes using novel big data sources. Elias has specialized 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 has also been studying geoinformatics education both in Finland and in Europe and been involved in several GIS courses as a teacher. He has co-created and teaches an inter-departmental course Open GIS & Spatial Data Infrastructures.



PhD candidate, MSc

Kerli holds a MSc in human geography and regional planning from the University of Tartu in Estonia. Her research focuses broadly on human socio-spatial interactions and mobility. Particularly, 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 joining the Digital Geography Lab in 2017, Kerli worked in public sector consultancy in the field of policy analysis and evaluation. As being experienced in both academic and applied research, she aims to advance cooperation between science and public policy institutions for implementing state-of-the-art theoretical and empirical knowledge in the process of policy-making.



Research assistant, BSc

Claudia is a MSc student specializing is geoinformatics, who has a special interest for analysing population dynamics and using novel spatial data sources – especially mobile phone data – to support decision-making and planning. She is currently finishing her Master’s thesis, where she uses mobile phone data to analyze the spatiotemporal population dynamics of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

Claudia has also been involved in geoinformatics teaching over the years and is the co-creator of the Open GIS and Spatial Data Infrastructures course.



Post-doctoral researcher, PhD

Henna holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2015) and M.Sc.(Adm.) in Environmental Policy (2008). Her long-term interest is to develop analysis tools that help mitigating conflicts between biodiversity conservation targets and human land-use. She has specialized in making scenario forecasts for the persistence of wildlife under alternative land use scenarios for the future, e.g. in case of forest policy change, climate-induced changes in wood product demand and supply, or rural desertification. She has expertise in fitting colonization-extinction models for species, which allow assessing how species cope in temporally changing, spatially heterogenous landscapes modified by human activity over longer time periods. These models help mitigating conflicts between human land-use and species conservation goals by visualizing 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 prioritization, visualization and quantification of the costs and benefits of alternative urban green infrastructure and urban greening plans.



Research assistant, MSc

Tuomas is a research assistant in the group. He is interested in urban geography, geoinformatics and applying automatic content analysis methods to Big Data. Tuomas is starting his PhD about understanding people and places through Big Data and automatic content analysis methods (e.g. natural language processing and computer vision). In his Master's thesis, he studied spatiotemporal English and Finnish topics from social media posts in Helsinki in order to understand differences in how the physical urban form is reflected in digital urban spaces between these languages. Tuomas has also taught and created study materials for several beginner and advanced level GIS courses.


Master thesis worker, BSc

Samuli is an MSc student at the Department of Geosciences and Geography specializing in geoinformatics. He is currently working on his master's thesis on modeling human mobilities across state borders around the Greater Region of Luxembourg. Samuli’s thesis is to cover both individual and aggregate level investigations spatio-temporally. To achieve this, he is gathering social media big data using Twitter API and focuses on Python programming in his approach. Samuli has also worked as a course assistant at the department.


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.


Maria Salonen, Post-doctoral researcher, PhD

Maria is a post-doctoral researcher working on spatial accessibility and mobility. Her PhD (2014) developed quantitative methods for analysing accessibility in urban (Helsinki region) and rural (Peruvian Amazonia) settings. Her current research continues with themes of urban daily mobility and accessibility, with particular focus on cycling as travel mode. Maria's new project on cycling accessibility aims at understanding the potential of different, novel data sources (such as sports application data, social media data and data produced by bike sharing systems) for providing relevant information on urban cycling patterns, and their use in planning and decision-making.



Enrico di Minin, Academy of Finland Researcher, Docent, PhD

Enrico is an Academy of Finland Researcher and a Docent (Adjunct Professor) in Conservation Biology. His research focuses on evaluating the economic benefits derived from biodiversity conservation, global wildlife trade, spatial conservation prioritization and trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and alternative land uses to reduce policy conflicts. He addresses these topics by using interdisciplinary research, novel data sources, such as social media data, and involving conservation practitioners. Particularly, Enrico is interested in developing solutions that can better inform real-world conservation decision-making.



Anna Hausmann, Post-doctoral researcher, PhD

Anna is a researcher in conservation biology, who holds a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2017), currently working as a post-doctoral researcher in the project Social Media Data for Conservation Science. Her research interests include interdisciplinary approaches to inform biodiversity conservation decision-making. In particular, her research focuses on using novel data mined from social media platforms to inform conservation management and marketing in protected areas. In her PhD, Anna used social media data along with traditional surveys to explore tourists' preferences for nature-based experiences in protected areas in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing particularly on South Africa. The work helped to unveil new ecotourism markets and conservation opportunities for neglected biodiversity (e.g. less charismatic species) and cultural ecosystem services (sense of place).



Gonzalo Cortés Capano, PhD candidate, MSc

Gonzalo is working on his PhD in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences. His thesis focuses on identifying appropriate strategies to promote private land conservation according to the preferences, motivations and needs of landowners, and to national institutional contexts. To do this he follows interdisciplinary approaches, combining methods from the natural and social sciences and working collaboratively with decision-makers, practitioners and landowners. The focus area of the study is Uruguay, where most of the territory is privately owned. In addition to his thesis, Gonzalo works in the Universidad de la República (Uruguay) and in Vida Silvestre Uruguay, a national conservation NGO, and is broadly interested in social-ecological systems, science-policy interface and sustainability science.



Christoph Fink, PhD candidate, MSc

Christoph is a cartographer and geographic information scientist and currently pursues his PhD in the project “Investigating illegal wildlife trade: innovative approaches to inform global conservation policy”. He looks into ways to combat the illegal trade of wildlife artefacts by tapping social media data and mining it in an automated machine-learning analysis and filtering process. Previous stations in Christoph’s career include the University of Salzburg, where he researched on modelling urban transformation, and the University of Vienna, where he developed GIS tools for qualitative research. The ontological and epistemological challenges of employing cartography and GIS as research methods stay in the forefront of Christoph’s research interest, as well as their technological advancement. Favourite personal asset: insatisfiable curiousity.



MSc Jeison Lon­doño Es­pinosa

  • Reseach Assistant
  • Visiting MSc student from the Institute of Geoinformatics, University of Münster, Germany
  • Research interest: Geoinformatics; accessibility and mobility data analysis
  • MSc thesis topic: "Comparative spatial data analysis method on urban accessibility realities of public transport and private car: Helsinki and Tallinn as a case study"

MSc Anna Haukka

  • Research assistant & course teacher (2017-18)
  • Research interest: Conservation science; global issues related to the overall sustainability of legal and illegal hunting practices and wildlife trade.

BSc Ainokaisa Tarnanen

  • Reseach Assistant / Master thesis worker (2016-17)
  • Research interest: Modelling cycling patterns and speed in the Helsinki region

BSc Ludovic Chastenet 

  • Intern, Research Assistant / Master thesis worker (2017)
  • Visiting Digital Geography Lab while being a master's student in the Civil Engineering French National School (ENTPE) and University of Lyon
  • Reseach interest: Effect of weather to bicycle use

BSc Laura Centore

  • Intern, Reserch assistant (2017)
  • Visiting Digital Geography Lab while being a master's student at the University of Goettingen in Germany and Lincoln University in New Zealand
  • Research interest: legal and illegal wildlife trade at a global level, hunting and wildlife management, with a particular focus on a social, economic and ecological point of view.