Sharing our Lab Handbook

Research groups are the basic unit of research in many research fields in universities. At the University of Helsinki alone we have hundreds of research groups. Still, almost all groups invent their everyday practices from scratch.

A couple of weeks ago, we at Digital Geographic Lab organized again our yearly development day. There, we decided to share some of our practices publicly in the form of a lab handbook. So here comes:

 

Digital Geography Lab Handbook 2024 (note: updated 21.2.2024)

The practices have been developed over the years through suggestions of many past and present lab members.

We hope that sharing them will be useful to some other research labs/groups, or those just starting their own group ❤️

– – –

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.

 

Wrapping up a successful and exciting year 2023!

It’s time to wrap up the year 2023 – and what a year it has been for Digital Geography Lab! We’ve kick-started new research, but have also picked the fruits of many long-term projects.

The year has been a blast with many joyful and productive moments together!

New big projects started!

Our lab has been running, or participating in, altogether 12 projects. Tuuli Toivonen’s new ERC Consolidator grant project GREENTRAVEL started early this year and now the team is full and in full speed. Also new H2020 project MOBITWIN has just been kicked off, with Olle Järv leading a work package. At the end of the year, we are finalizing projects MAPHEL by Tuomo Hiippala and H2020 project URBANAGE where Christoph Fink has made a lion’s share. Olle’s  BORDERSPACE and Tuuli’s MOBICON projects and the Urban AirQuality 2.0 consortium continued in full force, while Johanna Eklund‘s Sustainable conservation outcomes for protected areas was more on hold during her maternity leave.

We also received new funding! We are now part of a big national Location Innovation Hub. Tuuli is part of MSCA Doctoral network VIMAS, which is just recruiting 10 PhD candidates across the northern Europe to explore the questions of outdoor recreation and tourism. Olle received positive funding decision also as part of the WinWin4Worklife consortium which is set study questions of remote work arrangements from 2024 onwards. Related to the new projects, we have three positions currently open.

Continue reading “Wrapping up a successful and exciting year 2023!”

THREE positions open in Digital Geography Lab!

Our wonderful research lab has THREE competitive research positions open! The application time for all positions close in early January 2024. See the links below for details!

Doctoral Researcher in analyzing nature visit typologies using big data

The successful candidate will join the interdisciplinary research group Digital Geography Lab (DGL) at the department of Geosciences and Geography at the University of Helsinki and the EU HORIZON-MSCA-Doctoral Network VIMAS (Visitor monitoring and management in protected and recreational areas: new challenges, novel solutions for the Anthropocene). The VIMAS network is simultaneously employing 10 doctoral researchers in research institutes across the Northern Europe and the EU HORIZON-MSCA-Doctoral Network mechanism offers particularly attractive salary level and benefits. The work is related also to the MOBICON project by Professor Tuuli Toivonen.

Postdoctoral Researcher in the field of remote working and multilocal living

The successful candidate will join the interdisciplinary research group Digital Geography Lab (DGL) and work in two different, yet related Horizon Europe projects together with Academy Research Fellow Olle Järv. The first part (10 months) focuses on remote working arrangements in the upcoming project WinWin4WorkLife – “Healthy, inclusive and sustainable remote work futures as a Win-Win for employees and employers in urban, rural and cross-border areas”. The second part (8 months) focuses on multilocal living and freedom of movement across borders in the EU in the MOBI-TWIN project – “Twin transition and changing patterns of spatial mobility: a regional approach”.

Postdoctoral Researcher in human mobility analytics in the field of regional and urban geography

The successful candidate will join the interdisciplinary research group Digital Geography Lab (DGL) and work in two different, yet related Horizon Europe projects together with Academy Research Fellow Olle Järv. The first part (14 months) focuses on regional-level mobility flow analytics in the MOBI-TWIN project – “Twin transition and changing patterns of spatial mobility: a regional approach” and the second part (14 months) focuses on individual-level mobility analytics in the upcoming project WinWin4WorkLife – “Healthy, inclusive and sustainable remote work futures as a Win-Win for employees and employers in urban, rural and cross-border areas”.

– – – – –

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.

 

Kerli Müürisepp successfully defended her PhD thesis – Mei-Po Kwan as the opponent!

Kerli successfully defended her PhD thesis on Saturday, 25 November! What a blast the day was for the entire Digital Geography Lab!

The defence took place on Saturday, 25 November 2023, with Professor Mei-Po Kwan from the Chinese University of Hong Kong as the opponent. The defence started with Kerli’s Lectio Praecursoria, and continued with a discussion with the opponent about Kerli’s thesis, the research topic at large and included even bursts of laughter in the middle of otherwise serious academic debate.

See Kerli’s thesis here: Capturing segregation through space and time: New insights from the activity space approach and big data”. Kerli’s work was supervised by Dr Olle Järv, Prof Tuuli Toivonen, and Prof Tiit Tammaru.

On Friday before the defense, we had the honour of hosting the opponent, Professor Mei-Po Kwan, at the University of Helsinki. She gave an exciting talk for a broad audience on-site and online, with the title “Big Data and Geospatial Technologies for Health Research“.

The busy days culminated in the cheerful Karonkka party on Saturday evening with senate square views. To rest a bit, we all had a day off on Monday.

Cheers once more & hugs to brilliant Kerli! 🥳🤗

And many thanks also to the opponent, Prof Mei-Po Kwan, for visiting us and leading the discussion with academic expertise and curiosity, in a cheerful spirit! 🤗

Continue reading “Kerli Müürisepp successfully defended her PhD thesis – Mei-Po Kwan as the opponent!”

Kerli Müürisepp defending on 25 November at 11!!

Kerli Müürisepp will defend her PhD thesis titled

Capturing segregation through space and time: New insights from the activity space approach and big data

Time: Saturday 25th November, 11 o’clock  (note the unusual start time!)
Place: Porthania P674, Yliopistonkatu 3, Helsinki

Stream: https://video.helsinki.fi/unitube/live-stream.html?room=l23

Professor Mei-Po Kwan from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) will act as the opponent and professor Tuuli Toivonen as the custos.

The thesis is available in HELDA:  http://hdl.handle.net/10138/566813

– – – – –

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.

 

Mei-Po Kwan visiting DGL and talking at the University of Helsinki

Prof. Mei-Po Kwan from the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Friday 24.11. (13:15 – 14:45) taking place in Porthania PIII, University of Helsinki.
You can join in person or online. Some wine will be served after the presentation 😊

Please register here to get the online link or a glass of wine onsite!

Title: Big Data and Geospatial Technologies for Health Research

Abstract: The rapid development and widespread use of advanced geospatial technologies such as GPS, remote sensing, mobile sensing, and location-aware devices in recent years have greatly facilitated the acquisition of enormous amounts of high-resolution space-time data. To build smart and healthy cities, we need to integrate these multi-source geospatial big data acquired by earth observation technologies and mobile sensing technologies to provide more accurate assessments of individual exposures to environmental or social risk factors, and to develop planning policies to improve health for all. In this presentation, I will discuss how these new developments can provide new insights into the relationships between people’s mobility, health behaviors, and the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of environmental influence Drawing upon my recent projects on individual exposures to green/blue spaces, light-at-night, and air and noise pollution, I explore how the collection, integration, and analysis of high-resolution space-time data enabled by advanced geospatial and mobile technologies (e.g., real-time mobile sensing and GPS tracking) can help identify the “truly relevant geographic context in space and time” and provide new insights into the relationships between human health, people’s daily mobility, and the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of environmental influences.

Speaker’s Bio: Professor Kwan Mei-Po is Director of the Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, Director of Institute of Future Cities, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Geography and Resource Management, and an affiliated faculty of the JC School of Public Health and Primary Care of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prof. Kwan is a Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Social Sciences, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and American Association of Geographers and a Guggenheim Fellow. She was awarded many Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards by the American Association of Geographers, including the Distinguished Scholarship Honors, the Anderson Medal of Honors in Applied Geography, the Wilbanks Prize for Transformational Research in Geography, the Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography, the Edward L. Ullman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Transportation Geography, and the Melinda Meade Award for Outstanding Contributions to Health and Medical Research. Prof. Kwan has received research grants of more than USD 62.7 million and has delivered about 380 keynote addresses and invited lectures and presentations in more than 20 countries. Her recent projects examine the health impacts of individual environmental exposure (e.g., noise, air pollution, green space), urban and mobility issues, the space-time dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic and the perception of data privacy; and the protection of geoprivacy via the development of a Geospatial Virtual Data Enclave (GVDE).

This talk is part of the activities of the Location Innovation Hub and the Finnish University Network for Geoinformatics (FIUGINET) GeoSPA Talks series.

– – – – –

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.

 

Tuomas Väisänen aka Väiski defending his PhD 10 November at noon!

Tuomas Väisänen will defend his PhD thesis titled

“Diversity of places and people: Using big data to understand languages and activities across geographical space”

Time: Friday 10th November, 12 o’clock noon
Place: the Festive hall (Juhlasali) of Language Center (Kielikeskus), University of Helsinki.

Stream: https://video.helsinki.fi/unitube/live-stream.html?room=l13

Associate professor Grant McKenzie from McGill University will act as the opponent and professor Tuuli Toivonen as custos.

The thesis is available in Helda https://helda.helsinki.fi/items/3b464817-3408-414b-9670-f417fce5a6f0

 

Also:

**********************************************************************************************

Tuomas’s opponent associate professor Grant McKenzie will give a talk with the title

“Place, Privacy, and Mobility: Navigating the Intersection of Location Science and Human Dynamics”

Time: Wednesday 8th November 10-12
Place: University of Helsinki, Kumpula Campus, Exactum B123

Register for the stream link: https://forms.gle/xJh8r2zjsCSRWFZH7

**********************************************************************************************

You are most welcome to both events!

Super Week for our Doctors 2023!

This week has been special for the Digital Geography Lab and our Doctors 2023 group! The faculty councils of the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Biosciences did the following official decisions:

🌟 Elias‘s thesis Measuring sustainable accessibility: Geospatial approaches toward integrating people and the environment was accepted with honors! Elias defended on the 2nd of June 2023 with Trisalyn Nelson, Jack and Laura Dangermond Endowed Chair of Geography, University of California Santa Barbara, as the opponent.

🌟 Aina got permission to advance to the public defense with her thesis Shaking Environmental Education Paradigms. Practitioners’ narratives, contextual elements, and biocultural approaches. The public examination will take place on 20th September 2023, at 10 in Porthania (Yliopistonkatu 3), lecture room P674 or online. Senior Research Fellow Sarobidy Rakotonarivo, Department of Forestry and Environment, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar will act as the opponent. Aina did her PhD in the Global Change and Conservation research group.

🌟 Tuomas got permission to defend publicly his thesis Diversity of places and people: Using big data to understand languages and activities across geographical space. The public examination will take place on 10th November 2023.  Grant McKenzie, Associate professor of spatial data science in the Department of Geography at McGill University, will act as the opponent.

🌟 Kerli thesis Capturing segregation through space and time: New insights from the activity space approach and big data was sent for pre-examination. The tentative defense date is 24th November 2023!

Hooray & hugs to #Doctors2023🥳🤗

Elias heading to defend his thesis on the 2nd of June. Tuuli as custos and Trisalyn as the opponent follow. Photo by Christoph Fink.

– – – – –

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.

Contributing to the development of Geography Master’s degree curriculum

The Digital Geography Lab has been participating actively in the curricula development of the Geography MSc and BSc Programmes. During 2020-2022 Tuuli acted as the Director of the Geography Degree Programmes.

Therefore it makes sense to share an article covering the renewal process of the Geography MSc degree programme structure in the Digital Geography Lab blog. The article has been translated from the original publication in Finnish:

Toivonen, T., Kainulainen, H. T., Kosonen, K., & Ruth, O. (2023). Havaintoja maantieteen maisteriohjelman uudistamisprosessista. Terra, 135(2), 98-105. [https://terra.journal.fi/article/view/130170/80100]

Observations on the reform process of the Master’s Curriculum in Geography

In this article, we describe the process aimed at reforming the curriculum of the Master’s Programme in Geography at the University of Helsinki. The reform process was carried out during the years 2021–2022 and it was coordinated jointly by the Degree Programme Director, Deputy Director, Education Planner and one dedicated university teacher. The impetus for documenting the process in the form of this article came from the leadership studies by Professor Tuuli Toivonen. Toivonen served as Degree Programme Director and Olli Ruth as Deputy Director during the reform. The roles changed in summer 2022. Coinciding with this change, the processes moved from planning the structure of the curriculum to planning the implementation of courses.

Background of the curriculum reform

Teaching at the university is defined by the curricula of study programs. Typically, the curricula define the general degree structure and study tracks, as well as the learning outcomes, contents, scopes and competence assessment methods of study modules and courses – as well as the teachers responsible for the courses.

The curricula of the University of Helsinki have been in transition during the past 20 years. In the turn of the Millenia, European countries started the so-called Bologna process that aimed at harmonising the university degrees in Europe. This led to degree reforms at the University of Helsinki first in 2005 to be continued in the mid-2010s. The aim of these reforms was to make the bachelor’s and master’s degrees clearly separate, thus improving students’ opportunities to move from one degree programme to another between these study stages. In addition, efforts were made to strengthen the link between studies and working life. In the next phase, in 2017, the University of Helsinki implemented a reform called the Big Wheel, which introduced new system of three-year curricula. The old majors were replaced by degree programmes and minor subjects by elective study modules. The first curriculum period of the reform was 2017–2020 and the second 2020–2023.

Continue reading “Contributing to the development of Geography Master’s degree curriculum”