People & contact

Professor of Geoinformatics, PhD

Tuuli is a 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 Geoinformation Technology (tenure track), PhD, Aalto University

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.



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 is also the director of the Master’s Programme in Urban Studies and Planning (USP). In addition to research, Petteri has also 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. In addition, Petteri is a member of the Teachers’ Academy

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.


Academy Research Fellow, 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. 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, understand social processes and phenomena, and how this can be implemented in planning and policy. In recent years, he has examined ways to use big data in studying cross-border interactions, transnationalism, segregation, socio-spatial inequality and urban accessibility. Olle is currently working on his new Academy Research Fellow project "Tracing Interactions and Mobilities Beyond State Borders: Towards New Transnational Spaces (BORDERSPACE)".



Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

Age is a postdoctoral researcher interested in human-environmental interactions, urban geography and sustainability science. She explores human mobility and activity spaces in the physical and social environment with the help of novel (big) data sources. Currently, she studies the interlinkages of human mobility and environmental exposure in the research project UIA HOPE – Healthy Outdoor Premises for Everyone, and contributes to the development of the Green Paths routing tool.

Age holds a PhD degree in human geography from the University of Tartu. Before joining Digital Geography Lab in 2019, she was an active member of the Mobility Lab at the University of Tartu, and she continues to contribute to some of the joint research action. Her previous research includes ecological footprint and carbon accounting of consumption and mobility patterns, and activity space studies by combining mobile big data (mobile phone and GPS data) with qualitative data sets. Age has participated in several international projects on human mobility, urban geography and spatial planning. She has been teaching courses on environmental management and supervising BSc and MSc students for over a decade. Age is an editorial team member of the SAGE peer-reviewed journal Big Data & Society.


Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

Charlotte is a postdoctoral researcher in the YLLI-project (Equality in suburban physical activity environments / Yhdenvertainen liikunnallinen lähiö) researching equal accessibility to places of physical activity centres. She started in the beginning of December 2020. She has completed her university courses in the UK — her undergraduate degree was in BA Human Geography with a year abroad in Oulu at the University of Leicester 2012–2016, followed by an MSc in Applied Geographic Information Systems at the University of Sheffield 2016–2017. Her PhD was in Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield 2017–2020. She researched online housing search in the UK with Rightmove data using novel GIS methods to identify the spatial extent of housing market areas. Her research interests are quantitative geography, applied spatial analysis and GIS, social inequality, housing economics, and behavioural economics.



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. Currently she is working on projects attempting to disentangle the many links between funding, governance and ecological outcomes of protected areas (see project description). She is also interested in developing new tools and methods for the evaluation of protected area effectiveness.

Johanna´s background is very interdisciplinary. She did her PhD with the Global Change and Conservation Lab at the Metapopulation Research Centre, University of Helsinki, and has since worked both at Development Studies and as a postdoctoral fellow at HELSUS (University of Helsinki). She has experience of working with both protected area managers and local communities on the ground (Tanzania, Madagascar) and with a diverse set of methods (both quantitative and qualitative).



Postdoctoral researcher, PhD

Pengyuan started as a postdoctoral researcher in the YLLI-project (Equality in suburban physical activity environments / Yhdenvertainen liikunnallinen lähiö) in January 2021. He has a computer science background — he finished his BSc in Network Engineering at the Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications in China 2011–2015, followed by his MSc in Cloud Computing at the University of Leicester in the UK 2015–2016. After his MSc, he did his PhD in Digital Geography with a specific focus on geographical artificial intelligence (GeoAI) and user-generated content (UGC) analysis at the University of Leicester. His research focuses on exploring how the content production of UGC can inform our understanding of place representations and indicate places’ socio-economic characteristics. His research interests cover the disciplines of geographic information science, GeoAI, urban analytics and quantitative human geography.



Senior Researcher, PhD

Vuokko completed her PhD thesis in the Social Media Data for Conservation Science project at the Digital Geography Lab in 2020. Vuokko is currently working as a Senior Researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE and continues to collaborate with the Digital Geography Lab on various research topics related to studying the spatial and temporal patterns of human-nature interactions on different scales. Vuokko has several years of experience teaching various GIS courses at the Department of Geosciences and Geography including the popular Geo-Python and Automating GIS processes courses. Vuokko is also active in the local Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team volunteer community.

PhD candidate, MSc

Elias is a PhD candidate working on sustainable and active urban mobility and accessibility. He studies citizens’ opportunities to use active travel modes and access health-promoting travel environments as part of their daily mobility. Elias integrates in his research novel and big data such as mobile phone data and bike-sharing data with more traditional data sources like registries and individual surveys. He works in the Urban Exerciser and HOPE projects.

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: Transport in Human Scale Cities - Open and Happy held in Helsinki in June 2019. Elias is also active in teaching: as a co-creater, he 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 is a PhD candidate studying urban segregation, spatial inequalities, integration and transnationalism from the perspective of people's mobility and activity spaces. She seeks how mobile Big Data sources such as social media data and mobile phone data can provide more nuanced understanding about socio-spatial interactions of individuals across their activity spaces, and consequently provide new insights for integration research and practice. Kerli's PhD is part of the project “Socio-Spatial Dialogues in the City: Tracing Spatial Mobilities, Social Engagement and Integration Using Big Data”.

Kerli holds an MSc in human geography and regional planning from the University of Tartu. Prior to joining the Digital Geography Lab in 2017, she 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 applying state-of-the-art theoretical and empirical knowledge in the process of policy-making.



PhD candidate, MSc

Tuomas is a PhD candidate interested in understanding urban areas and people through big data sources like social media and mobile phone data. He focuses on analyzing people’s spatio-temporal language use and activities across urban space using AI-based content analysis techniques (namely computer vision and natural language processing) and spatial analysis. He aims to help cities become more equal and socially sustainable by expanding knowledge of people's language and activity diversity across urban space.

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 is an active teacher of masters-level GIS courses.


Research assistant

Håvard is a geoinformatics master's student who is interested in analyzing big data to examine spatial behaviour, mobility, and cross-border interactions. His MSc thesis focuses on studying human mobilities using social media data in the Nordic context. Håvard is currently working as a research assistant in the Academy of Finland project BORDERSPACE - Tracing Interactions and Mobilities Beyond State Borders: Towards New Transnational Spaces.




Research assistant

Sonja is a Master’s student in geoinformatics. She is interested in learning more about big data analytics and possibilities of social media data in research. She did her Bachelor’s degree in human geography at the University of Helsinki. As a research assistant and Master’s thesis writer in the YLLI-project, she is now working with Twitter data as an indicator of sports activities in the Helsinki Area. The main topics in her work revolve around content analysis of social media data, assessing and optimizing geoparsing methods as well as validating and complementing social media data with other data sources.



MSc student & Trainee

Bryan is an exchange student from the University of Tartu, Estonia (master’s programme in Geoinformatics for Urbanized Society). His BSc thesis at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador focused on location-based services by detecting commercial sub-centralities. His master's thesis is a joint collaboration between the Digital Geography Lab and the Mobility Lab at the University of Tartu, and is part of the BORDERSPACE project. Bryan examines the linkage between spatial mobility and interactions via smartphones as a proxy for virtual mobility in the case of Estonians living in Finland. Currently, he is doing an internship in the BORDERSPACE project by analysing methodologies for detecting social media users’ place of residence using Twitter data and Python to better reaveal cross-border mobilities.



MSc student

Emil is a master’s student in geoinformatics who studies transnational movements of language minorities in Finland using geotagged Twitter data. He has a bachelor’s degree in human geography and has also previously studied journalism. Emil is interested in using social media data for understanding human mobility across state borders. In his master’s thesis he is looking at the three largest language groups in Finland (after Finnish) and analyses transnational mobility patterns. His thesis is part of the project BORDERSPACE - Tracing Interactions and Mobilities Beyond State Borders: Towards New Transnational Spaces.  



MSc student

Emily is a human geography master’s student who is interested in applying geoinformatics to social phenomena. With bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and biology, she is eager to approach research from an interdisciplinary perspective. For her thesis, Emily is studying integration and mobilities from a transnational perspective. She will use mobile phone data alongside surveys to better understand the social network interaction of Estonians living in Finland. This topic is part of the Academy of Finland project BORDERSPACE - Tracing Interactions and Mobilities Beyond State Borders: Towards New Transnational Spaces.



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: