SomeCon in Cambridge 7 March 2018!

Social Media Data for Conservation Science project will be visiting Cambridge on March the 7th 2018. Associate professor Tuuli Toivonen will give a presentation about the recent work in the project and there is a possibility to discuss afterwards with group members Dr. Henrikki Tenkanen and Dr. Olle Järv.

Presentation: Exploring the possibilities of social media data for conservation science
Time: Wed 7th March 2018, 2.15-3.15pm
Weston Seminar Room, David Attenborough Building, Cambridge
Discussion: Common Room, 3.15-3.30pm



Please find the abstract behind this link!
For the latest news, find us on Twitter trough @SomeConRG and @digigeolab

Instagram, Flickr or Twitter? New research out from Finnish and South African National Parks!

Our new article Instagram, Flickr, or Twitter: Assessing the usability of social media data for visitor monitoring in protected areas compares social media usage and official visitor statistics from 56 national parks in Finland and South Africa.

The results of this article show that social media activity and park popularity are highly associated, even on a monthly level. When comparing the performance of different platforms, Instagram clearly outperforms the others.

The research was published in Scientific Reports on 14th December 2017. Read the full openaccess paper here:

Doctoral Defense of Henrikki Tenkanen 17.11.2017

MSc Henrikki Tenkanen will defend his thesis “Capturing time in space – Dynamic analysis of accessibility and mobility to support spatial planning with open data and tools” in the Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, on Friday 17th, November 2017 at noon.

The work consists of five scientific articles and a synthesis related to spatial and temporal patterns of accessibility and mobility. Chapter III  assesses the usability of different social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter or Flickr) for visitor monitoring in protected areas and the results are very interesting for conservation scientists and practitioners.

Professor Rober Weibel from University of Zurich will serve as the opponent in the event.The defense is a public event, and dissertation is available online here.

Henrikki Tenkanen: Capturing time in space

Time: Fri 17.11.2017 12:00-14:00

Place: Kumpula Campus, Physicum-building, Auditorio D101, Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2 A

Enrico Visiting South Africa!

Dr. Enrico Di Minin is currently in South Africa meeting up with collaborators from SANParks and discuss future research work with Prof. Rob Slotow from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Enrico attended a workshop on Sustainable and Health Food System in Durban about how to enhance food diversity sustainably without affecting the environment. He then spent last week in Kruger National Park, working with Dr. Sam Ferreira, the large mammal scientist at SANParks and continuing collaboration with SANParks Scientific Services on illegal wildlife trade topics.

Social Media and Biodiversity Data in Research (FinBIF presentation by Tuuli)

Finnish Biodiversity Information for the Benefit of Society -seminar in september 2017 gathered together top scientists and practitioners to exchange ideas about the current state of biodiversity informatics. The seminar was related to the 24th Meeting of the GBIF Governing Board in Helsinki.

Associate Professor Tuuli Toivonen presented results and ideas from the somecon-project discussing the use of social media data for understanding benefits from biodiversity.



Now hiring! A position open in Enrico’s Illegal Wildlife Trade project!

For more information on the post-doc / PhD position, see

Edit: After a successful recruitment process, we are happy to announce that the position has been filled and Christoph Fink has joined the Digital Geography Lab as the new employee in the Illegal Wildlife Trade -project lead by Enrico Di Minin.

New paper out in Scientific Reports!

Social media reveal that charismatic species are not the main attractor of ecotourists to sub-Saharan protected areas

Thus far,  the lack of visitation data has prevented the closer investigation of motivations to visit protected areas in Sub-Saharan Africa. In this study, we used social media data to investigate if the presence of charismatic megafauna (such as the Big Five) indeed would explain the presence of tourists in the park using social media usage as a surrogate for protected area visitation.

In this study, we obtained biological, geographical  and country level attributes  for Sub-Saharan protected areas and used in the generalized linear model as explanatory variables for social media usage.

As a result, we found that the richness of charismatic species had no influence on social media usage in sub-Saharan Africa’s protected areas, whereas the socio-economic conditions in each country was a key factor affecting visitation to the sites. More details and discussion are available in the original article published in Scientific Reports:

Digital Geography Lab

Our interdisciplinary research group has established new webpages at  This blog, together with the @SomeConRG Twitter account will continue to serve as a channel for news related to the social media for conservation science (somecon) -project.

The Digital Geography Lab, based at the Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, includes researchers working around the themes of mobility, accessibility, nature conservation and the development of novel data and methods for spatio-temporal analysis. The somecon-project is one of the many exciting research ongoing research projects in the lab. Read more from and @digigeolab Twitter account!

p.s. stay tuned for news about recent publications from the somecon-project 🙂

SomeCon in Lapland – New paper out and visiting Metsähallitus

Greetings from Lapland!

We were happy to finalize our most recent analysis with social media data while visiting Metsähallitus – Parks  Wildlife Finland in Rovaniemi and park managers in the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park both in Ylläs and Pallas areas.

Meeting with Metsähallitus – Parks Wildlife Finland in Rovaniemi on 13 March 2017

The article User-Generated Geographic Information for Visitor Monitoring in a National Park: A Comparison of Social Media Data and Visitor Survey, published on 16 March 2017, presents a multifaceted comparison between traditional survey data and geotagged social media data from Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. Based on these two data sources, we analyzed (i) where do people go within the park; (ii) what are their activities; (iii) when do people visit the park and if there are temporal patterns in their activities; (iv) who the visitors are; (v) why people visit the national park; and (vi) what complementary information from social media can provide in addition to the results from traditional surveys.

Results for most popular activities, and most visited locations were similar based on the two data sources. As social media users are younger than the average park visitor, social media could contribute by providing additional information about the activities and preferences of younger age groups in the park. Also, despite evident limitations and biases in the data, social media has the potential to provide information with higher spatial and temporal resolution in comparison to traditional visitor surveys.

Snowshoeing in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park

The paper was published in a special issue for Volunteered Geographic Information in the International Journal of Geo-information.

Link to article: