Project background

Virtuaaliluonto’s objective is to increase travelling to Finnish nature and rural attractions, as well as to develop digital know-how in Finland. Virtuaaliluonto is a digital service that combines the strengths and possibilities of the Finnish nature, both online and at the scene, into a tempting digitally experienced experience.

The project is being funded by Europe’s Maaseuturahasto.


The Kick-off

The project is now officially started. We had the opening meeting with our teacher and everything went well, of course there’s always the little adjustments and questions of “do you have everything you need?”
When has anyone had everything that you’ll need for a project on school level?
Besides there are so many unknowns and variables that they’ll eventually come to our path and we just have to adapt and overcome the obstacles what ever those might be.

Okay, so the project has cleared the planning and “paper” stage, what have we been doing?

Reading – a lot. Plus some Python training.

As for the hardware side we finally got something:

Start hardware picture.

So now we have everything to start physically doing things (yes you can always simulate). There’s the Raspberry pi B model 3 and power source + PIR motion detector.

Before anything we had to install the software for Raspberry and o boy it was a amusing couple of hours.

The main conversation went something like this:

“Do these monitors have HDMI port?”
“Do we have a Displayport -> HDMI adaptor?”
“Do we have a memory card reader?”
“Well, what DO we have?”

What ended happening – we “borrowed” one of the old machines from school, installed Xubuntu 16.04.03 from a live USB to the hard drive (Live mode didn’t work properly on the machine), downloaded the Raspberry software and forcefully got it into the micro sd – card and finally we successfully could install the software:


Yes, it’s alive – after two hours of cursing. Naturally some tweaks were made for SSH connection, password plus few minor adjustments to get into this result:

Finally – was the most prominent thought.

Next up – writing code for the motion sensor.

The project plan – writing nonsense?

Ever thought that writing a project plan is a fantasy article? Don’t worry you are not alone.

Okay, so what has happened? Planning, planning and some more planning plus writing it down.

The first project plan draft has been showed and we got some pros, cons and improvement ideas. The most important thing has been writing and “calculating” the timetable – how much do we need time for X, Y and Z? In the end before Christmas is our deadline.

We decided that Raspberry pi would be the platform that our prototype will be built upon. Arduino will come to the project if we need it.
Two sensor, movement and fire sensor/flame detector would be enough for data collection cause’ we need to also send it through to the server where the actual calculations and algorithms would take place. Also there is need for a battery and some kind of DIY –  box for the prototype. Then we need a website to show the information to the end user.

Nuotiovahti Idea

Here is a visualization for what would happen. Our box is in a “camping hut” where it can collect the data of:

A. are there people using it = movement sensor
B. is there an active fire = flame detector
Because the “camping hut” has a roof, that eliminates one big concern – weather.
Rain, snow, sun, wind all the troubles are minimized, now we can just make the prototype waterproof and worry about the battery (or so we hope!). Of course there’s a chance that a bear or some other wild life comes to eat the whole box, although vandalism would be a bigger concern, luckily it is still in the future of actually going into the Nuuksio national park to even test it.

Then the next big thing is the data transmission – what protocol, how often and so on. Then actually turning it to useful data to the end user and displaying it in a meaningful way.


a picture of a traditional “camping hut/resting place in Finland”

So that’s about it, now we are going to start making things happen.

The Beginning

The foreword

Hi and welcome – this blog is the main place to follow our Virtuaaliluonto Project. This project is part of the EU funded project which has several University’s co-operating and our school is one of them.

The Team

We are students in Haaga-Helia University of applied sciences – our main orientation in studies is ICT- infrastructures. The team has four member:

  • Markus – Team leader
  • Mika
  • Oliver
  • Vesa

The Project

We had the demonstration of the project and the parameters are to make a working prototype of something that supports nature tourism and travel. So pretty open ended.

What we have in mind is a Raspberry Pi with two sensors, movement and fire. The basic idea is to put the whole thing next to a campfire and collect useful data to a server which hikers and campers can use to see if the campfire spot has a fire going on or movement so is it occupied.

One of the key features is to respect peoples privacy, so our prototype will not collect any data that can be linked to any specific person.
After all in these days everything is somewhat connected to the internet and there are a lot of talk about peoples privacy.

The idea is simple, but the hard part comes from designing the whole thing:

  • What components do we need?
  • How much money do we have?
  • Battery life?
  • What code?
  • Data transmission tech?
  • How to make it “weatherproof”?
  • Hidden problems that should be accounted for?

The Board is set and the pieces are moving – we got a project and a end goal, now it’s time to start planning, without further ado

To the drawing board!