Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Rep. 2013 Oct 17;3:2976. doi: 10.1038/srep02976.

Using social media to quantify nature-based tourism and recreation.

Author information

1
1] Natural Capital Project, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA [2] Natural Capital Project, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

Abstract

Scientists have traditionally studied recreation in nature by conducting surveys at entrances to major attractions such as national parks. This method is expensive and provides limited spatial and temporal coverage. A new source of information is available from online social media websites such as flickr. Here, we test whether this source of "big data" can be used to approximate visitation rates. We use the locations of photographs in flickr to estimate visitation rates at 836 recreational sites around the world, and use information from the profiles of the photographers to derive travelers' origins. We compare these estimates to empirical data at each site and conclude that the crowd-sourced information can indeed serve as a reliable proxy for empirical visitation rates. This new approach offers opportunities to understand which elements of nature attract people to locations around the globe, and whether changes in ecosystems will alter visitation rates.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center