.

Stanford Ecologist Using Social Media to Gauge Recreational Value of Coastal Areas

A Stanford ecologist advocates using social media data to determine the recreational value of coastal ecosystems in order to better direct conservation efforts and funds.

 

Where to play and spend money while on vacation depends on characteristics of the environment. To correctly value ecosystems, researchers must account for outdoor recreational opportunities and understand how changes in the environment lead to changes in visitation rates.

But that information is costly and hard to get because site-specific data are necessary to predict how changes in the environment will lead to changes in visitation rates. In most places, particularly developing countries, scientists lack data on where people go.

Social media may provide an answer, says Spencer Wood, a marine ecologist at the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University. Wood uses geotagged photo locations that have been posted to social media sites to create an estimate of the number of "user-days" for locations around the world. By illuminating where people go, this approach permits predictive models of how visitation rate will change given future changes in natural and built environments.

"This novel use of crowd-sourced information can not only break the logjam of expensive empirical data requirements to enable prediction and valuation of recreation and tourism after changes in the landscape, but also can provide revolutionary new sources of information for understanding all manner of questions about where people go," Wood says.

Wood presented his findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston on Feb. 15.

--Stanford News Service

Also on Patch

  • Pacifica Pedestrian Hit by Alleged DUI Driver
  • Devil's Slide Tunnels — a Massive Art Installation
  • A Final Farewell to the Piano on the Bluffs
  • Photos: Dancers at Sunset on the Secluded Strand of Martin's Beach
  • Flash Mob Comes to Half Moon Bay and You’re Invited to Dance

 

Keep up with local news — follow Patch!

Sign up for Half Moon Bay Patch’s daily newsletter
"Like” us on Facebook
"Follow” us on Twitter


Sign up for Pacifica Patch’s daily newsletter
"Like” us on Facebook
"Follow” us on Twitter

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »