Niina Käyhkö profile picture
Professor, Geography


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

Areas of expertise

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


Since January 2018, I have been an Associate Professor in Digital Geospatial Research at the Department of Geography and Geology. My professional career at UTU dates back to late 1990’s (MSc in Geography 1997, PhD Geography 2001). During my PhD I specialized in landscape change analysis with combined uses of digital geospatial data. 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 stakeholder cooperation. From 2003 onwards, I have been intensively involved in research, education and development 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. Most of my research activities are in the interface of science and practice and I have strong emphasis on coupled research-education projects with competence development impacts. I am leader of the UTU Tanzania Team ( and UTU Geospatial Labs ( I am representing UTU in Finnish University Network in Geoinformatics (FIUGINET), in Finnish University Partnership for Development (UNIPID) and Regional Spatial data network for SW Finland ( I am vice-lead of the National Open Geospatial Research Infrastructure for Finland ( 


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 GIS and remote sensing courses at UTU. Additionally I have been teaching courses in landscape research/landscape ecology. From 2018 onwards, I am training mainly MSc and PhD level students who are specializing in geospatial research. I am/have been a supervisor of around 25 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 and analyses of geospatial data and development of location-based methods for geographical research. 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. Most of my research work combine quantitative and qualitative location-based and space/place-based methodologies and I enjoy working in the science-practice interface seeking for societal impacts from geospatial research. I am highly motivated to link scientific knowledge and practice into development cooperation and innovation development. 


Sort by: