Keynote Speakers

PhD School Keynote Speech by Dr. Urška Demšar

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the keynote speaker cannot join us at the PhD School. Her keynote speech will be recorded and uploaded to our conference webpage. 

Prof Kristjan Vassil will deliver a PhD School Lecture entitled “Sensors, data, and decisions: The next generation of predictive public services” instead.

School of Geography & Sustainable Development

University of St Andrews

Scotland, UK 


Dr. Urška Demšar is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, UK and an established international leader in Geographic Information Science (GIScience). She is Associate Editor of the International Journal of GIScience and leads the Bell-Edwards Geographic Data Institute (BEGIN) in St Andrews. She specialises in movement analytics, by developing new methods for animal movement and human mobility. Her current research vision is to bring a spatial data science perspective to difficult data problems in movement ecology, which traditional methods may not be able to address.

Keynote speech “Integrated Science of Movement: bringing together human mobility and animal movement research”

Movement is a fundamental property of life and movement analysis has been a focus of many different disciplines, who use very similar research objectives and data models to study this phenomenon. In spite of this, there is still little overlap in the awareness and sharing of movement concepts, methods and models between disciplines. A particularly big gap exists between analysis of animal and human movement. Animal movement is typically studied in ecology, while studies of human movement span various disciplines, from GIScience, geography, transportation, computer science, physics and others. In this talk we compare methods on both sides of the divide and argue for establishement of an Integrated Science of Movement, which provides a framework for movement research in any discipline.

Rein Ahas lecture Keynote Speech by Prof. Jukka M. Krisp 

Professor of Applied Geoinformatics

University of Augsburg



Prof. Krisp studied at the Ruhr-University of Bochum, Germany & the University of Turku, Finland. He proceeded with his postgraduate studies at the Technical University of Helsinki (TKK, now Aalto University) Finland in the field of Cartography & Geoinformatics, where he finished his doctoral dissertation and continued to work as a senior investigator. In 2008 he changed his position to the Technical University Munich (TUM) to work as the Head of Research at the Department of Cartography (LfK). In 2013, after finishing his haGeovisualization and Mobility Research – conceptual perspectivesbilitation at the TUM, he was appointed to be a Professor of Applied Geoinformatics at the University of Augsburg, Germany. His current research interests include in particular Geovisualization & Location Based Services (LBS).

Keynote speech “Location Based Services  conceptual perspectives for mobility research, navigation and wayfinding

We are currently experiencing a monumental shift driven by the ubiquity of mobile information, reshaping the landscape of both scientific inquiry and societal dynamics. Central to this transformation are Location Based Services (LBS), which provide information according to a geographical position e.g. of the users and their devices. This research area has been around for a long time and research trends diversify within the realm of LBS. We have remarkable advancements in mobile positioning technologies. Furthermore, we need to address a series of critical research challenges essential for the continued advancement of LBS and the cultivation of collaborative research. These challenges include a broad spectrum, ranging from refining methods, including precise positioning to optimizing visual communication, standardized protocols, determining efficient routing strategies, and developing robust evaluation frameworks. These are some among other challenges. Personalized routing, a crucial aspect of LBS, is highlighted as an exemplary challenge. This involves tailoring navigation instructions and route recommendations to individual user preferences, considering factors such as mode of transportation, time constraints, and personal preferences for scenic or efficient routes. Examples includes “routing for driving beginners” or algorithms for “line of sight navigation”. Moreover, this technology extends to the profound societal implications arising from the integration of LBS into everyday life, including considerations of privacy, ethics, and behavioral impacts. By tackling these challenges and fostering dialogue around them, we aim to chart a course for the positive utilization of mobile information in shaping the future of our societies.

Keynote speech by Dr. Robin Lovelace

Head of Data Science @activetraveleng

Data scientist, transport modeller, programmer @ITSLeeds

Associate Professor of Transport Data Science


Dr. Robin Lovelace is Associate Professor of Transport Data Science at the Leeds Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) and Head of Data Science at the UK government agency Active Travel England. Robin specializes in data science and geocomputation, with a focus on developing geographic methods applied to modeling transport systems, active travel, and decarbonisation. Robin has experience not only researching but deploying transport models in inform sustainable policies and more effective use of transport investment, including as Lead Developer of the Propensity to Cycle Tool (see, the basis of strategic cycle network plans nationwide. Robin has led numerous data science projects for organizations ranging from the Department for Transport and Transport Infrastructure Ireland to the World Bank.

Keynote speech “Reproducible research and open tools for future-proof transport planning”

Transport planning has always been a complex and multi-disciplinary enterprise requiring wide-ranging skills and methods. Proliferating data sources, tools and policy demands — including fast and fair decarbonisation and the need to make active travel the natural choice for everyday trips in cities worldwide — has increased the demands on transport planners and researchers in the field. With burgeoning pressures and options, how to decide what to do? This talk will make the case that reproducible research and open tools are essential ingredients for effective transport planning in the 21st century. It will map out the landscape of open tools for transport planning, distinguish between open source and open access models, and demonstrate how reproducibility is the key not just for research but also for future-proof, socially sustainable and high impact transport planning practice. I will draw on my experience developing, deploying and collaborating on tools such as the Propensity to Cycle Tool for England and Wales (publicly available at, the Network Planning Tool for Scotland (publicly available at and the Biclar tool for Portugal (publicly available at Each is used to inform strategic transport planning decisions, raising questions around the use of new technologies and collaborations with practitioner and advocacy communities to maximise the long term positive impacts of transport research. The talk will not answer all of these questions but it will surely generate debate and hopefully provide insight into how the field could develop as the data revolution accelerates.

Keynote speech by Assoc. Prof. Anu Masso 

Associate Professor of Big Data in Social Sciences

Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance

Tallinn University of Technology

Anu MassoAnu Masso is an Associate Professor of Big Data in Social Sciences at the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, and holds a PhD from the University of Tartu and completed post-doctoral research at ETH Zürich. Her research focuses on the societal impacts and transformations of data technologies, with a focus on spatial mobilities. Renowned for her contributions to social science methods, she has published in leading journals, including New Media and SocietyInformation, Communication & SocietySocial Networks and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. She has recieved numerous awards, including the Data Pearl from Statistics Estonia, the best Estonian-language textbook, and the National Research Award in Social Sciences. She held a Global Digital Governance Fellowship for Estonian Scholars at Stanford University in 2022. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of the Estonian Association of Sociologists, a board member of the Digital Sociology thematic group of the International Sociological Association, and an editorial board member of the journal Data in Brief.

Keynote speech “Mobility Data Justice: Estonian Data Manifesto”

Practices and research of mobilities are increasingly intertwined with datafication – our everyday movements are turned into data points. The use of these ‘big data’ enhances our understanding of ‘big questions’, encompassing issues related to the global environmental impact of various mobility modes. The apparent data abundance also raises urgent concerns about growing inequalities, discrimination, and fairness – both in the utilization of mobility data and in instances of restricted data access. This presentation introduces a holistic approach to mobility data justice, incorporating crucial epistemological aspects where data contributes to knowledge for designing a just mobility infrastructure, and ontological aspects addressing bias or data incompleteness, which can lead to the creation of segregated urban spaces. Furthermore, the presentation emphasizes the increasing need for research and practices that foster justice in global data movements. Grounded in empirical examples, it elucidates the intricacies and dynamics of mobility data justice. Additionally, it proposes a framework to address the pressing challenges in achieving justice within the realm of mobility data.

Keynote speech by Prof. Nico Van de Weghe

Professor of GIScience

Ghent University (Belgium), Department of Geography, Research Group GIS&T

Nico Van de Weghe

Prof. Nico Van de Weghe is a full professor specializing in Geographic Information Science (GIScience), a dynamic field at the confluence of computer science, social science, and natural science. Since the early 2000s, he has been at the forefront of spatiotemporal reasoning and analysis, central to understanding and analyzing geospatial information. His expertise in GIScience extends to the realm of GeoAI, where he endeavors to empower machines with human-like spatial reasoning and analysis capabilities. His research spans a diverse array of applications, such as animal behavior, sports analytics, criminology and mobility research. Currently, Prof. Van de Weghe is pioneering in the development of hybrid GeoAI models, integrating both knowledge-driven and data-driven approaches.

Keynote “Exploring Possibilities: Generative AI in Human Mobility Research”

This talk aims to provide a foundational understanding of generative AI and its potential applications in the field of human mobility studies. While generative AI is a rapidly evolving technology with various implications, my focus will be on introducing basic concepts, discussing current developments, and exploring hypothetical scenarios where it might benefit human mobility research. The goal is to offer a starting point for further exploration and discussion, rather than to present definitive solutions or advanced applications.

See the last conference Keynote Speakers: Keynote speakers 2022