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GPS Visitor Tracking and Recreation Suitability Mapping: Tools for understanding and managing visitor use

Landscape and Urban Planning
DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.04.002
  • Gps
  • Recreation
  • Suitability Mapping
  • Spatial Zoning
  • Visitor Tracking
  • Gis
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Social Sciences


Abstract Understanding space in parks and protected areas is becoming more important as recreation and other uses in these areas change and increase. Spatial demand and space utility are of particular importance to multiple-use forests, which may have competing demands and limited acreage. For managers to balance the demands of society, maintain healthy ecosystems, and generate revenue these demands must be integrated on some level. Spatial data and analysis can help with integration; however, social science data can be difficult to integrate into spatial modeling and analysis. This study examined the integration of two mapping methods that can assist in the incorporation of social science data into spatial models: Recreation Suitability Mapping (RSM) and GPS Visitor Tracking (GVT). Visitor use preferences were spatially mapped to create recreation suitability models for competing recreation activity groups, and GPS tracking of visitor use was used to compare and contrast actual user patterns with mapped preferences. Combining RSM and GVT proved useful for informing visitor management in a small acreage, multi-use public forest experiencing high spatial demand. Theoretical, methodological, and practical implications are discussed.

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