The origin of UTU Geospatial Labs was in 1995, when the Laboratory of Computer Cartography, or LCC (in Finnish: TietokoneKartografian Laboratorio, TKL), was founded. It was an important research facility at the Department of Geography, University of Turku. The laboratory supported research activities in the field of Computer Aided Cartography or Geoinformatics: Remote Sensing (RS), Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Digital Mapping, Digital Image Processing and Personal Navigation.
The LCC was an interdisciplinary research unit developed to explore new ways of processing spatial data for the benefit of research in different fields of human and natural sciences. The laboratory shared its facilities with the Departments of Biology and Geology, and the three were jointly in charge of the running costs. The LCC was organised in a way that the most up-to-date equipment and software packages were available for all authorised users. Furthermore, basic digital data was shared among LCC’s user group.
From the very beginning, LCC has been active in national and international geospatial research and education networks. LCC was a founding member of AGILE (Association of GIS Laboratories in Europe) and in 2001 it also joined EARSeL (European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories).
In 2002, the name of LCC was changed to its longer version – UTU-LCC. At the same time, the language of annual reports and web-pages was turned to English.
After the successful launch of PaITuli geospatial data service in 2009, much of the routine work of spatial data lending shifted from UTU to the hands of CSC, the IT Centre for Science.
In 2014, a large computing room ‘Paikkatietoluokka’ was founded. Two teaching classrooms were equipped with 33 workstations, allowing better resources for GIS education in undergraduate studies. Consequently, the role of the smaller computing room was changed as it became the main facility for the more demanding and resource-consuming tasks, related to, for example, image processing and spatial modelling. The small specialised laboratory was named as UTU-GIS laboratory.
In 2018, UTU-GIS was renamed to UTU Geospatial Labs – multidisciplinary geospatial research and education cluster at the University of Turku providing the backbone for geospatial research and teaching for the whole university. During the past year, the activities and co-operation have also been increasingly international. New memberships in geospatial networks have been launched, for example in Geo For All and Copernicus Academy communities.