Niina Käyhkö profile picture
Professor, Geography


+358 29 450 2403
+358 40 031 0427
Vesilinnantie 5

Areas of expertise

Digital Geospatial research
Open Science, Environmental Remote Sensing
Land Change Science, Landscape Geography
Participatory mapping
Geospatial Competence Development
Development cooperation, Development Research


Since January 2018, I have been a Professor in Applied Digital Geospatial Research at the Department of Geography and Geology. Most of my professional activities are in the interface of science and practice and I have strong emphasis on coupling research with skills and competence development and societal impacts around the geospatial data, technologies and application in wider actor and knowledge networks. I am a head of UTU Geospatial Labs ( and the UTU Tanzania Team (, and one of the coordinators of Resilience Academy, a university partnership with the World Bank ( I am a board member in our university's strategic research and education profile "Future technologies and digital society" (

My professional career at UTU dates back to late 1990’s (MSc in Geography 1997, PhD Geography 2001, Adjunct Prof 2008). During my PhD, I specialized in combined uses of digital geospatial data in landscape change science. I started as the University Lecturer in Geoinformatics in 2002 and since then my expertise has widened largely on the issues of geospatial data analysis and applications, geospatial training and community cooperation. From 2003 onwards, I have been intensively involved in research, education and geospatial cooperation in Tanzania. In 2008, I received Adjunct Professorship in Landscape Geography. I have been post-doctoral research fellow at the Academy of Finland in 2006-07 and PI of two Academy Development Research projects (2010-13; 2014-2019). Additionally I have been leading around 15 projects with funding from the EU, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, The UN/FAO, The World Bank and private companies.

I am representing UTU in Finnish University Network in Geoinformatics (FIUGINET), in Finnish University Partnership for Development (UNIPID, vice-chair of the Board) and Regional Spatial data network for SW Finland (, member of the Board). I am vice-lead of the National Open Geospatial Research Infrastructure for Finland (Geoportti RI,, which is the Hub for Finnish Geospatial Research and Education Resources.


I have geospatial teaching experience since 2002 at the undergraduate (BSc, MSc) and postgraduate (PhD) level at the Department of Geography and Geology. Since 2010 I have also been training geospatial experts in Tanzanian academic and government institutions in various development cooperation and consultancy projects. These have had both individual as well as institutional skills development objectives. From 2002 until 2017 my teaching portfolio consisted annually from several undergraduate GIS and remote sensing courses at UTU. Additionally I have been teaching courses in landscape research/landscape ecology. From 2018 onwards, I have focused more on training MSc and PhD level students who are specializing in geospatial research. I am/have been a supervisor of over 20 MSc theses and 7 PhDs.

Currently I am teaching on the following courses:

MAAN7760 Specialisation in Geospatial Research, 5 op
MAAN7764 Geospatial Data Management and Visualization, 5 op
MAAN7340 Participation, Spatial Planning and GIS, 5 op
MAAN7762 Remote Sensing of Environment, 5 op
EKOL4320 Spatial Biodiversity Informatics and Landscape Ecology, 5 op


My research interests are broadly on combined uses of open geospatial data, technologies and methods for sustainable development of the planet, the societies and communities. I am planning research work with societal impact in mind. This means that most of my research activities are rooted on science-practice interface, and they thrive from accelerating value to digital geospatial data and solution with community engagement, learning and adaptation to the dynamic challenges of the real world. I am highly motivated to link scientific knowledge and practice into development cooperation and innovation development. 

Most of my research work combine quantitative and qualitative geospatial and space/place-based methodologies and aim for development of location-based solutions. My applied research interests are in developing geospatial approaches and methods for landscape and land change research and especially sustainable planning and management of land- and natural resources.


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Harnessing sensing systems towards urban sustainability transformation (2021)

npj Urban Sustainability
Grêt-Regamey Adrienne, Switalski Michal, Fagerholm Nora, Korpilo Silviya, Juhola Sirkku, Kyttä Marketta, Käyhkö Niina, McPhearson Timon, Nollert Markus, Rinne Tiina, Soininen Niko, Toivonen Tuuli, Räsänen Aleksi, Willberg Elias, Raymond Christopher M.
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))