The Academy of Finland funds two geospatial research projects at University of Turku

Researchers at the department of geography and geology at University of Turku have received funding from the Academy of Finland for two projects working with geospatial data and methods. The projects focus on very different phenomena, going from urban green infrastructures to human linguistic, genetic and cultural diversity.

Adjunct professor Nora Fagerholm will start her work as an Academy Research Fellow under the project name GreenPlace. The main objective of the research is to increase our knowledge of the potential of mapping perceived place-based wellbeing benefits related to green infrastructure among urban dwellers with the use of a 3D virtual landscape platform.  

Adjunct professors Nora Fagerholm and Harri Tolvanen from the department of geography and geology at University of Turku will spend the upcoming years working with Research projects funded by the Academy of Finland.

“Inclusion of the local stakeholders’ perspective is crucial for planning sustainable livable green areas and elements. GreenPlace will have genuine societal relevance in participatory spatial planning by promoting understanding and mapping the wellbeing benefits of ecosystem services in urban areas”, says Fagerholm.

Adjunct Professor Harri Tolvanen leads a sub-project of the URKO (Uralic triangulation) consortium, which actively promotes the availability and transparency of digital humanities’ resources and methods. The project will integrate and bring forward the digital datasets of human linguistic, genetic and cultural diversity.

URKO will launch three databases with online interfaces, providing downloadable data in established file formats. These will contribute to the research and teaching of linguistics, archaeology, human genetics and geography, and they will be an important addition to national and international integrative studies as well”, says Tolvanen about the project that has just recently received funding.

Although the projects focus on very different phenomena both of them will benefit from geospatial data and analysis. They apply new and innovative methodologies and extend geospatial approaches to new fields.

The essential innovation of GreenPlace is to apply modern 3D mapping technologies, such as digital photogrammetry and laser scanning, and demonstrate their advantages for capturing place-based physical activities and health benefits of urban green areas”, comments Fagerholm on the application of new technologies.

The URKO consortium will strengthen the role of geospatial data and methods in human history research by active collaboration with the researchers of genetics, linguistics and archaeology. Furthermore, the project will use the spatiality as a common methodological platform to integrate the scientific knowledge of these disciplines”, says Tolvanen to describe the multidisciplinary research project.

Both Fagerholm and Tolvanen identify the benefits that geospatial research infrastructure can provide for their work.

The use of best practices for the URKO geographic database and its user interface will be assured by the use of technologies created within UTU and the Geoportti collaboration, by offering geospatial data services, scalable geocomputing services, and knowledge sharing networks”, says Tolvanen.

“Through Geoportti it is easy to see all spatial data services in one place. This includes also options for sharing and storing data sets produced in GreenPlace project”, concludes Fagerholm.

GreenPlace 2019-2024 is an Academy Research Fellow project funded by the Academy of Finland (grant number 321555).

URKO 2020-2022 is a project in the Digital humanities programme by the Academy of Finland (grant number 329259).