Get to know Jarkko Koskinen, School of Engineering Alumnus of the Year 2021
Could you tell us about yourself and your career path? How did you become an expert in spatial data?
It's all a great coincidence. When I was living in Loimaa, my father encouraged me to pursue a summer job as a land surveyor, as he was one himself. While working for the Loimaa survey department, I saw how enjoyable the work was, and the surveyor's profession is especially appreciated in rural areas. As I was good at mathematics and natural sciences in school, I decided to apply for surveying studies at Helsinki University of Technology. After the second year of studies, I became interested in photogrammetry and remote sensing and therefore applied for a summer job in the photogrammetry laboratory. Professor Haggren had already filled all vacancies, but he recommended me to apply for the newly opened Laboratory of Space Technology, headed up by Professor Hallikainen. Part of the credit for me getting interested in research and the rapid development of my career surely belongs to these professors, whose contacts helped me participate in interesting projects and international visits.
What is most interesting about the field right now?
Spatial data is in the middle of some massive developments and geoinformatics experts are more sought-after than ever. Some of the largest companies in the world, such as Google, Microsoft, Apple and Huawei currently count spatial data among their fields of business. With the advances in robotisation and digitalisation, accurate and high-quality real-time spatial and position data are needed everywhere. There is a ton of work to be done in this field.
What kinds of career paths can young people expect in the field of geoinformatics?
Geoinformatics is a popular field and experts are a hot commodity in China and the United States. There are plenty of job opportunities. Smart transport, digital twins, robotisation – all these require geoinformatics expertise. Studying geoinformatics now is a great way to become an expert of the future.
Do you have any advice for students considering studies in technology? What should they learn and what skills should they develop for the future?
Technology is a fun field to study and Aalto is an excellent place to do it. Knowing the basics pays and mathematics and physics should be emphasised. Besides those, your own interests, internships and jobs will most likely guide your choice in specialisation.
What did you learn during your studies that was most useful to your career?
The value of friendships and networking. Aalto provides an excellent networking platform for the experts and decisionmakers of the future – it's also worth it to enjoy the student experience while you study.
What do you consider the best climate action?
In climate matters, I am happy to follow the opinions of my previous supervisor, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. I think he has very pragmatic views on what must and should be done. I believe every one of us can do our part in mitigating climate change and adapting to it.