Meet Matti Hästbacka, a Doctoral Researcher in the MOBICON project

We are excited to introduce Matti Hästbacka! 🙂 Matti works as a Doctoral Researcher in the MOBICON project (Mobile Big Data for Understanding People in Nature). Check out our mini-interview with Matti to learn more about his research and interests.

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Who are you and what is your position at the University?

My name is Matti Hästbacka, and I’m a Doctoral Researcher in the MOBICON project (Mobile Big Data for Understanding People in Nature) at the Digital Geography Lab. In my thesis, I employ mobile big data and novel methods to understand the changing carbon footprint of nature-based tourism.

In what kind of positions have you worked prior to joining University?

I graduated with an MSc in Geography from the same department where I’m currently working. In my MSc studies, I majored in Geoinformatics, but I tried to make the most of academic freedom throughout my studies, and ended up studying a lot of different things, ranging from Natural Language Processing and statistics to Latin American studies. To me, the ability to study a wide variety of courses has been the best part of my studies so far. In my MSc thesis, I used Flickr data and spatial analysis coupled with computer vision methods to understand the importance of nature for tourists visiting the Canary Islands.

At the same time, I’ve been working in the Emergency Medical Services field as a planner.

What do you find most inspiring in your work?

The most inspiring thing about this work must be that I get to learn something new every day. I’m also motivated by the idea of being able to make a positive impact with the things I’m doing. Importantly, I’m really lucky to be surrounded by an amazing group of colleagues.

Please tell a few more words about yourself!

To find a balance with the fairly sedentary nature of this job, I like to stay active by practicing various sports (e.g., tennis, gym, rugby) and enjoying the outdoors in my spare time. Enjoying literature and music in different ways have always been important hobbies for me.

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This interview was initially published in Geo-stories, the biweekly newsletter of the Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki.

The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the University of Helsinki.