damiano cerrone space syntax turku esri

Urban meta-morphology workshop in Turku

Exploring social media data to map the invisible image of the city.

13 > 17 March 2017

University of Turku

XSTL1053 Location-based social media data analysis


This workshop uses location-based social media data to unveil, map and study the meta-morphology of Turku. Participants will use large datasets from Instagram, Twitter and Airbnb to find meta-trends in the use of outdoor and indoor spaces and map activity patterns using geographic information software. They will also carry out surveys to study the relation between urban amenities and the image of the place to gain a new understanding the qualitative aspects of social practices and the narrative of urban spaces.

Groups will be formed based on the participants expertise and each group will be given a specific theme to be studied, to be defined together during the first day. The tasks will be divided by group according to participants’ field of expertise.

Digital mapping

Using QGis – or participants preferred software like ArcGis, processing, MapBox (previous use experience of such software is not necessary for each student) – to map spatio-temporal patterns, activity patterns and find possible trends in the meta-morphology of the city.

Cultural Analytics

Visually analysing a large dataset of images shared in Turku to extract the qualitative aspects of the invisible image of the city. Pictures will be categorised using costum-designed software.


Each group will produce an easy-to-build WordPress website to narrate the story of the specific subject they have been studying, following an example from our previous workshop where a group used similar data and tools to study graffiti in St. Petersburg (https://spbwalls.wordpress.com).

Datasets available


Instagram data is the pulse of the city. When pictures are mapped in GIS using geographic coordinates and date/time they reveal the activeness and attractiveness of one place. When pictures are viewed and tagged with our dedicated software, they give an inside perspective of the users’ experience of space. Combining these aspects – quantitative and qualitative – will be the key to reveal the sense of place of indoor and outdoor space in central Turku.


Tweets can be used to pin point the presence of one user in the city when they share contents between users, creating a complex network or meta-relations between different people in a local, regional or global scale. In this workshop we will use Tweets shared in southern Finland to explore the potentials of social media data to reveal the social network that entangle different users between cities and map how many invisible relations entangle different cities.


The data will give an insight on how shared economies impact on Turku. Most importantly it will give us a reference point to study if there are particular locations that are more favourable for Airbnb listing and study their qualities. Also we will learn more about Airbnb listings location choice and housing types to detect what are the trends, patterns and the hypes.


Participants will also receive a set of preloaded GIS layers for the city of Turku such as the full GIS map of Turku, urban accessibility datasets, census data, and real estate data. No GIS skills are required to join the workshop but it is advised to go through the basics of QGis. Click here to see a basic introduction to the software.

Sampo Ruoppila


Panu Lehtovuori

Reviewer / Moderator

Raul Kalvo


Previous workshop and related projects




Meta-morphology lab


A sense of place

spin unit damiano cerrone ESRI gis award


Bachelor, Master and PhD students from University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University only can apply.


17th February 2017 at 3 pm


Click here to submit your application.

This is an intensive course. Please do not plan other (studying) activities during this period.  Students are expected to bring and use their own laptops. Access to necessary software will be provided.

The workshop is funded by Turku Urban Research Program. It is a spin-off of URMI (Urbanization, Mobility and Immigration) a research project funded by the Academy of Finland – program of Urbanising Society.

The workshop is eligible for Bachelor, Master and PhD students in the field of urban studies (broadly!). We welcome students interested in and having skills related to human/social geography, digital mapping or cultural analysis. We aim to build three interdisciplinary teams, with students from different disciplines and with different skills, coming together to produce original research.

The course is a voluntary course of, and can be included in XSTL1023 (Muut kaupunkitutkimuksen opinnot II) in Urban Studies Minor (25-35 ECTS) at University of Turku.