The Geonord -network collaboration was first developed through regular communication between the University of Joensuu and Umeå University in the late 1980's. Since 1995, the sphere of co-operation was extended to include also universities in Norway as Bodø College was invited to this exchange. Later the number of universities participating these intensive courses increased to comprise all five Nordic countries, and since 1999-2000, students from Reykjavik, Iceland and Roskilde, Denmark have been involved with the network.
In the NordPlus program period 2008-11 the networking area enlarged to cover the three Baltic countries. In the first phase University of Tartu/Pärnu College joined to the Geonord -network. Until that time, the two week intensive courses were arranged in northern parts of Finland, Norway and Sweden. The year 2008 meant a turning point also in terms of facilities: the course was held for the first time in Estonia. A year later, the University of Latvia sent their students to the course and in 2010 they became a full member of the network.In the same year the course was conducted in Latvia too.
In recent years the courses have been arranged mainly in Estonia but field case studies have been conducted on the Latvian side as well. Additionally, the excursions have been stretched not only to Estonia and Latvia but also to Russia.
University of Bergen replaced Bodø as Norwegian partner in year 2012. The current Geonord is a six-pack coalition, which consists Departments of Geography (or respective) from Bergen, Joensuu, Reykjavik, Riga, Tartu and Vilnius. The latter one is a new member since the application round 2015. At the same time the long lasted collaboration with Umeå ended. In the near future, the aim is to enlarge the network to comprise geography units from Denmark and Sweden.
The main activity of the network collaboration has been jointly planned and conducted two-week intensive, research-oriented field courses on a yearly basis. Additionally, the network has promoted student and teacher mobility between the network universities and countries.
Course themes 1999-2014
- 27.9.- 8.10. 1999 in Saltdal, Rognan (140 km south-east of Bodø) with a 3-days excursion to Rana, Lurøy and Træna: LOCAL RESTRUCTURING OF THE NORDIC WELFARE SOCIETY
- 2.- 13.10. 2000 in Saltstraumen (30 km east of Bodø) with a 3-days excursion to the Lofoten Islands: INNOVATIONS, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORDIC CONTEXT
- 30.9.- 11.10. 2002 in Røkland (100 km south-east of Bodø) with a 3-days excursion to the Lofoten Islands: SOCIAL CAPITAL, LOCAL MOBILIZATION AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORDIC CONTEXT
- 19.- 31.10. 2003 in Tornio/Haparanda with a 3-days excursion to Luleå, Piteå, Pajala, Pello, Rovaniemi and Kemi: LEARNING REGIONS AND CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION IN THE NORDIC PERIPHERY
- 4.- 15.10. 2004 in Ylitornio with a 4-days excursion to Kolari, Enontekiö, Kautokeino, Karasjokk, Utsjoki, Inari and Rovaniemi: NEW DYNAMICS OF ETHNIC AND REGIONAL POLITICS IN THE NORDIC PERIPHERY
- 2.- 13.10. 2006 in Ylitornio with a 3-days excursion to Pajala, Kiruna, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, Boden and Luleå: MOBILITY IN A BRIDGING AND BONDING CAPACITY IN THE NORDIC PERIPHERY
- 1.- 12.10.2007 in Kuusamo with a 4-days excursion to Eastern Lapland and Rovaniemi: MAPPING TACIT KNOWLEDGES. UNDERSTANDING THE TRANSFORMATIONS OF RURAL ECONOMIES
- 3.- 14.11.2008 in Pärnu with a 3-days excursion to Southern Estonia: RESILIENT REGIONS AND PEOPLE: TRANSFORMATION AND ADAPTATION OF LOCAL ECONOMIES
- 5.- 16.10.2009 in Valga-Valka with excursions along Via Hansaetica between Tartu and Riga: NEW FORMS OF POSTPRODUCTIVISM, RURAL-URBAN INTERACTION AND REGIONALISM IN BALTIC BORDERLAND
- 11.- 22.10.2010 in Riga with a 3-days excursion to Eastern Latvia (Latgale): DUALISMS AND DIALOGUES IN BALTIC REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND POLICY
- 15.- 27.4.2012 in Tartu with a 3-days excursion to Vöru and Valga County, Vidzeme and Riga. KNOWLEDGE INSTITUTIONS AND LOCALIZED LEARNING IN SPATIAL AND DEVELOPMENT PLANNING IN PERIPHERAL FUNCTIONAL URBAN AREAS OF THE BALTIC SEA REGION
- 14.- 27.4.2013 in Tartu with a 3-days excursion to Estonian-Latvian-Russian corner border regions. BORDERING PERSPECTIVES AND PROCESSES IN EVERYDAY LIFE AT THE EU'S EXTERNAL FRONTIERS
- 11.- 24.5.2014 in Pärnu with a 3-days excursion to west coast areas and islands of Estonia. INVISIBLE CITIZENS AND THE FUTURE OF RECREATIONAL PERIPHERY