Two of the teams tackled service network design challenges from different accessibility perspectives. Team one addressed the problem of limited accessibility to services for older people. They created a map service demo showcasing the implications of limited accessibility due to closures or relocations of health centres. The tool can be used to support decision-making. The second team presented a map demo of the accessibility problems that elderly and pregnant women, along with other vulnerable groups, might face in accessing healthcare services in the metropolitan area of Helsinki if some of the health network points shut down or relocate.
Accessibility is indeed a topical challenge at the wellbeing services county. They need to enhance the efficiency of their service networks while ensuring access to services for all. Location data can be used to identify gaps in the service network and to identify what services are needed in the area and how to deliver them cost-effectively.
“For example, in a remote area, an elderly person may not have a car or a driving license, there may be no relatives to give them a lift, and getting a Kela taxi is a bit of a hassle. From this point of view, the outputs of the Challenge Camp are really interesting and relevant from our point of view,” says Leena Setälä, Strategy Director of Varha. Varha was one of the Challenge Campaign partners that provided the challenges to the teams.
Equality objective was reflected in service design
A third team implemented a demo of an urban planning climate risk assessment tool to assess the thermal impact of building projects. This tool could assist in smarter building, for example by reducing energy consumption for air conditioning and decreasing the development of heat islands in urban areas. A fourth team developed a map service solution to facilitate mobility and route planning for highly sensitive people. The mapping service could help, for example, to choose a quieter or more park-like route.
Leena Setälä said it was great to see what young researchers think about equality and its importance in the health and well-being sector.
“They have realised that equality does not mean providing the same service to all customers,” Setälä says. According to Setälä, all the demos presented are applicable and the results show that the activities have been well guided.
“You could say that the challenge camp was an excellent preparation for working life.”
After the event, Varha’s Senior Sustainability Specialist Riikka Teuri said she was pleased with what she had seen:
“The use of spatial data was quite new to me before the challenge camp and it was great to see the potential of its use in the health sector. It also made me realise the extent of our knowledge on location data at Varha and how we rely on location data to make decisions.”
Next Challenge Campaign in 2025
The ten-week course was, as the name suggests, a real challenge for the participants. The 18 international students were separated into four groups, comprising of researchers and students from different fields. The teams found it difficult to work out the challenge and a solution while also grasping the approaches and viewpoints of other disciplines. The challenge camp teaches in a practical way how to approach complex societal problems through collaboration and new learning.
“This first Challenge Camp was an excellent experience and provided valuable knowledge for the future planning. The next Challenge Camp is planned for spring 2025,” says professor Niina Käyhkö from the University of Turku. The planning of the Challenge Camp will continue in a working group with representatives from the University of Turku, Aalto University, the Geoportti community and the Location Innovation Hub.
A more detailed description of the results of the Challenge camp will be published on the Location Innovation Hub website in December 2023.