• Post category:Articles
  • Post published:18.1.2024

Four prototypes for addressing health and well-being challenges using location data 

Finland's first Geospatial Challenge Camp has been completed. At the end of a ten-week working cycle, four proposals were made to address challenges in the health and well-being sector. In this article we will introduce the teams and their work.


You are currently viewing Four prototypes for addressing health and well-being challenges using location data 
The closing event of the Geospatial Challenge Camp 2023 took place in December.

The Geospatial Challenge Camp was a 10-week long challenge-based course that aims to provide participants a chance to tackle relevant real-world challenges in cross-disciplinary teams. The participants are doctoral and post-doctoral researchers and master students from Finnish universities and research organizations. They worked together from 4 multidisciplinary teams, collaborated with mentors and stakeholders for 10 weeks and solved challenges related to health and well-being. The prototype solutions developed by all groups contributed to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainability Development Goals.  

Rewarding and challenging experience 

Participants considered the Geospatial Challenge Camp to be a new and innovative program with a great availability of real data. This camp enabled the development of a tangible product that solves real-life problems in collaboration with mentors and the assistance of stakeholders. 

The main challenges included tight timeframes for prototyping, balancing with full-time jobs, a knowledge gap in certain areas, and the urgency to obtain real-time data. However, effective collaboration and communication skills, along with weekly mentoring sessions, enabled the diverse team to successfully create prototypes, meet deadlines, and achieve their goals. Participants found the Geospatial Challenge Camp to be a meaningful and rewarding professional experience. 

Two people from the group 1 presenting their idea at the Geospatial Challenge Camp closing event.
Group 1: City Experience of Highly Sensitive People

1. City experience of Highly Sensitive People 

The aim of this solution was to identify the most optimal routes that would allow Highly Sensitive People (HSP) to travel in the cities to their desired destinations while enjoying scenic views and having pleasant experiences. The routes were planned based on factors such as visual aesthetics, less road hazards, and noise levels. The group collected data through interviews with HSP and used it to make an assessment on urban safety perception index.  

Firstly, the main benefits of the targeted web map service are aimed at HSPs. Secondly, companies benefit from the data set and technology developed from the solution. Lastly, the components for visual perception are improved through the map services of the City of Helsinki.  

Two people from the group 2 presenting their idea at the Geospatial Challenge Camp closing event.
Group 2: Extreme Heat Event in Cities: climate risk assessment solution for urban planning in Turku

2. Extreme Heat Event in Cities: climate risk assessment solution for urban planning in Turku

The problem at hand concerns the health risks posed by extreme heat events due to climate change, with a particular focus on elderly citizens. To mitigate those effects, the group recommends that cities evaluate and report on climate-induced risks and incorporate measures for prevention and adaptation into urban planning activities. This solution was in line with the EU’s Green Deal principles which aims to protect citizens health and well-being from environmental risks and impacts by assessing and reporting on climate risks. 

The climate risk assessment solution has integrated a map-based tool into existing urban planning. The purpose of this tool was to calculate climate risk indices for all types of urban planning projects including new building infrastructures, renovations, and sports facilities. 

The pilot solution has been implemented in the City of Turku as the main beneficiary but can also assist in fulfilling reporting obligations to the EU, as well as improving social, economic, and ecological values. This includes protecting vulnerable groups from climate risks to increase resilience and reducing long-term healthcare costs. 

3. Not-AI inclusive Health access partner 

The challenge was to address the issue of maximizing the accessibility of consultation services for elderly people in Varha, a wellbeing services county in Southwestern Finland. 

The result was a demonstration of a map service that can be used to illustrate the impact on accessibility changes in the event health services locations change. The scenario builder tool can be used to support decision-making. The Wellbeing counties and elderly population are the direct beneficiaries of this solution while Ministry of Social Affairs and Health are the indirect beneficiaries. 

Group 3: Not-AI inclusive Health access partner 

The challenge was divided into two stages to ensure the proper implementation of the solution. The first stage involved arranging meetings with stakeholders, collecting data from platforms, and preparing presentations. A key resource was the traction with stakeholders to help them identify a specific solution. Following this, a geospatial analysis was conducted, filtering low-quality data sets and implementing various algorithms to process large data sets. The primary outcome of this solution was the centralization of service points, which maximize accessibility while reducing travel emissions and enhancing healthcare services accessibility for the elderly. 

4. Healthcare Accessibility  

The group presented a demonstration of the accessibility challenges faced by vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and pregnant women, in the metropolitan area of Helsinki in the event of health network points being closed or relocated. 

Three people from the group 4 presenting their idea at the Geospatial Challenge Camp closing event.
Group 4: Healthcare Accessibility

The aim of this solution was to improve healthcare accessibility in the city of Helsinki by estimating the number of healthcare facilities and identifying underserved areas where people lack access to healthcare within a specific time frame. The solution presented the huge impact on accessibility for these populations if specific health care services were reduced. The outcome demonstrated that reducing specific healthcare services would have a significant impact on accessibility for these vulnerable populations. 

The group encountered several challenges while working remotely with large amounts of data. Half of the team lacked data analysis skills, which prompted them to gain a basic understanding of data science. To overcome these challenges, they relied on tools such as mentor’s guidelines during sessions and stakeholder assistance. They also gained valuable experience by utilizing open data resources for travel metrics and grid data processing from SYKE. 

Additional information about all pitching solutions can be found here