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Rein Ahas
Estonian geographer

Rein Ahas

Rein Ahas
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Estonian geographer
A.K.A. R. Ahas
Is Geographer
From Estonia
Field Science
Gender male
Birth 10 December 1966, Tartu, Tartu County, Estonia
Age 55 years
Star sign Sagittarius
The details (from wikipedia)


Rein Ahas (born 10 December 1966 in Tartu) is an Estonian geographer and a professor at the University of Tartu.


In 1991 he received his undergraduate degree in Physical Geography and Nature Conservation from the University of Tartu, in 1994 he completed his MSc and in 1999 his PhD, with the thesis "Spatial and Temporal Variability of Phenological Phases in Estonia", supervised by Prof. Ülo Mander and Jaan Eilart.


  • 2013-2015 Researcher-professor of the Estonian Academy of Sciences
  • 2011-... Visiting professor at the Geography Department of the University of Gent, Belgium
  • 2006-... Professor of Human Geography, University of Tartu, Department of Geography
  • 2002-2006 Senior researcher, University of Tartu, Department of Geography
  • 1998-2000 Lecturer, University of Tartu, Institute of Geography
  • 1994-2000 Researcher, University of Tartu, Institute of Geography

visiting researcher

  • ETH of Zürich, Switzerland (2012)
  • Umeå University, Sweden (2011)
  • Vienna Technical University, Austria (2008)
  • Oxford University, Environmental Change Institute, UK (2001)
  • Fulbright visiting researcher at the University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (2001)


The main research topics include spatial mobility of people, travel, urban geography and segregation. Special interest on using and developing mobile positioning based methods. Previous research includes the impact of climate change, environmental impact and seasonality.

Scientific activities focus to Mobility Lab of University of Tartu.

Co-founder and co-owner of spin-off company Positium LBS.


PhD supervision: Anto Aasa (2005), Taavi Pae (2006), Siiri Silm (2009), Andres Kuusik (2011), Hando Hain (2012), Olle Järv (2013).


2014 Member of Eurostat ESS Task-Force on Big Data and Official Statistics

2014 COST Action TU1305 Social networks and travel behaviour, coordinator of Working Group I

2013 EC EIP Smart Cities & Communities sherpa group member

2013 Member of Editorial Board of Journal: Travel Behaviour and Society (Elsevier)

2013 Member of "task force" of preparation of Directors General of the National Statistical Institutes (DGINS) Conference and the Meeting of the European Statistical System Committee (ESSC) 2013, The Hague.

2011–2012 Head of Commission for Estonian Settlement System of Ministry of Regional Development of Estonia

2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 - Head of organizing committee of International seminar and PhD school "Mobile Tartu"

2009–present Member of Council of "Doctoral School in Economics and Innovation"

2009–present COST IC0903 Knowledge Discovery from Moving Objects management committee member

2009–present COST TU0804: Survey Harmonisation with New Technologies Improvement (SHANTI) management committee member

2006–present Member of International Association for Travel Behaviour Research (IATBR)

2006–present Member of Editorial Board: Journal of Location Based Services (Taylor & Francis)

2005–2006 Estonian exhibition team member in Venice Biennale's 10th International Architecture Exhibition in 2006 "Meta city": Mobile activity spaces and real time city in Tallinn.

2004–present EU RD program COST 725 management group member

2004–2006 Member of Association of American Geographers

2003–2004 Participation in Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) IV report process

1998–2004 Board member of Estonian Green Movement-FoE

1999 Participation in Tartu 1999, Narva (2000-2001) and Tallinn (2002-2004) master plan working group

1998 Chair of organising committee of the 4th Biannual Conference of Taiga Rescue Network: Boreal Forests of the World IV: Integrating Cultural Values into Local and Global Forest Protection, October 1998, Tartu, Estonia

1996–2003 Member of forestry expert commission of Ministry of Environment in Estonia

1994–2004 Taiga Rescue Network international reference group member

1992–present Member of Estonian Naturalists Society


2012 ISI Essential Science Indicators (ESI) cumulative citation count rose above the 1% threshold.

2007 Association of American Geographers, Climate Specialty Group. John Russell Mather Paper of the Year 2006 for the article Schwartz, MD, Ahas, R., Aasa, A. 2006. Onset of Spring Starting Earlier Across the Northern Hemisphere. Global Change Biology. 12(2): pp. 343–351.

2006 Junior Prigogine Medal, University of Siena and the Wessex Institute of Technology in honour of the late Professor Prigogine's Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

1983 School students’ Scientific Association’s (ÕTÜ) Research Medal


Most recently published articles

Ahas, R., Witlox F., Miller, H. 2014. From the Guest Editors: Mobility, Communication, and Urban Space, Journal of Urban Technology 21 (2):1-7.

Poom, A., Ahas, R., Orru, K. 2014. How residential location impacts ecological footprint: case of settlement hierarchy, Environment and Planning A, 46(10): 2369 – 2384.

Järv, O., Ahas, R. and Witlox, F. 2014. Understanding monthly variability in human activity spaces: a twelve-month study using mobile phone call detail records. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 38 (1): 122–135.

Silm, S. & Ahas, R. 2014.The temporal variation of ethnic segregation in a city: evidence from a mobile phone use dataset, Social Science Research 47: 30-43.

Silm, S. & Ahas, R. 2014. Ethnic differences activity spaces: The study of out-of-home non-employment activities with mobile phone data, Annals of Association of American Geographers 104(5): 542-559.

Top 5 cited publications in Google Scholar

Ahas, R. 1999. Long-term phyto-, ornitho- and ichthyophenological time-series analyses in Estonia. Int. J. Biometeorology, 42, pp. 119–123.

Ahas, R., Aasa, A., Menzel, A., Fedotova, V.G., Scheifinger, H. 2002. Changes in European spring phenology. Int. J. Climatology, 22, pp. 1727–1738.

Ahas, R., Ü. M. 2005. Location based services—new challenges for planning and public administration?. Futures, 37, pp. 547–561.

Menzel, A., Sparks, T., Estrella, N., Koch, E., Aasa, A., Ahas, R., Alm-Kübler K., et. al. 2006. European phenological response to climate change matches the warming pattern. Global Change Biology, 12: pp. 1969–1976.

Schwartz, MD, Ahas, R., Aasa, A. 2006. Onset of Spring Starting Earlier Across the Northern Hemisphere. Global Change Biology. 12(2): pp. 343–351.

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