Smartphone GPS tracking—Inexpensive and efficient data collection on recreational movement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This research note describes the methodological and practical applications of using smartphone GPS tracking (SGT) to explore the spatial distribution and density of recreational movement in multiple-use urban forests. We present findings from the pilot phase of an on-going case study in Keskuspuisto (Central park), Helsinki, Finland. The study employs an inventive and inexpensive approach for participatory data collection i.e. gathering GPS data from recreational users who have already recorded their routes for purposes other than research, using any kind of sports tracking application on their personal mobile phones. We used the SGT data to examine visitor spatial patterns on formal trails and informal paths, and present examples with runners and mountain bikers. Hotspot mapping of mountain bikers’ off-trail movement was conducted identifying several locations with clustering of off-trail use. Small-scale field mapping of three hotspot areas confirmed that the method accurately located areas of high use intensity where visible effects of path widening and high level of wear on the forest floor vegetation could be observed. We conclude that the SGT methodology offers great opportunities for gathering useful and up-to-date spatial information for adaptive planning and management as it highlights areas where conservation and visitor management measures may need to be adjusted. We suggest that this method warrants testing also for other user-centred research and planning purposes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Volume157
Pages (from-to)608–617
Number of pages10
ISSN0169-2046
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences

Cite this

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title = "Smartphone GPS tracking—Inexpensive and efficient data collection on recreational movement",
abstract = "This research note describes the methodological and practical applications of using smartphone GPS tracking (SGT) to explore the spatial distribution and density of recreational movement in multiple-use urban forests. We present findings from the pilot phase of an on-going case study in Keskuspuisto (Central park), Helsinki, Finland. The study employs an inventive and inexpensive approach for participatory data collection i.e. gathering GPS data from recreational users who have already recorded their routes for purposes other than research, using any kind of sports tracking application on their personal mobile phones. We used the SGT data to examine visitor spatial patterns on formal trails and informal paths, and present examples with runners and mountain bikers. Hotspot mapping of mountain bikers’ off-trail movement was conducted identifying several locations with clustering of off-trail use. Small-scale field mapping of three hotspot areas confirmed that the method accurately located areas of high use intensity where visible effects of path widening and high level of wear on the forest floor vegetation could be observed. We conclude that the SGT methodology offers great opportunities for gathering useful and up-to-date spatial information for adaptive planning and management as it highlights areas where conservation and visitor management measures may need to be adjusted. We suggest that this method warrants testing also for other user-centred research and planning purposes.",
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author = "Silviya Korpilo and Tarmo Virtanen and Susanna Lehv{\"a}virta",
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Smartphone GPS tracking—Inexpensive and efficient data collection on recreational movement. / Korpilo, Silviya; Virtanen, Tarmo; Lehvävirta, Susanna.

In: Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 157, 01.2017, p. 608–617.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Smartphone GPS tracking—Inexpensive and efficient data collection on recreational movement

AU - Korpilo, Silviya

AU - Virtanen, Tarmo

AU - Lehvävirta, Susanna

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N2 - This research note describes the methodological and practical applications of using smartphone GPS tracking (SGT) to explore the spatial distribution and density of recreational movement in multiple-use urban forests. We present findings from the pilot phase of an on-going case study in Keskuspuisto (Central park), Helsinki, Finland. The study employs an inventive and inexpensive approach for participatory data collection i.e. gathering GPS data from recreational users who have already recorded their routes for purposes other than research, using any kind of sports tracking application on their personal mobile phones. We used the SGT data to examine visitor spatial patterns on formal trails and informal paths, and present examples with runners and mountain bikers. Hotspot mapping of mountain bikers’ off-trail movement was conducted identifying several locations with clustering of off-trail use. Small-scale field mapping of three hotspot areas confirmed that the method accurately located areas of high use intensity where visible effects of path widening and high level of wear on the forest floor vegetation could be observed. We conclude that the SGT methodology offers great opportunities for gathering useful and up-to-date spatial information for adaptive planning and management as it highlights areas where conservation and visitor management measures may need to be adjusted. We suggest that this method warrants testing also for other user-centred research and planning purposes.

AB - This research note describes the methodological and practical applications of using smartphone GPS tracking (SGT) to explore the spatial distribution and density of recreational movement in multiple-use urban forests. We present findings from the pilot phase of an on-going case study in Keskuspuisto (Central park), Helsinki, Finland. The study employs an inventive and inexpensive approach for participatory data collection i.e. gathering GPS data from recreational users who have already recorded their routes for purposes other than research, using any kind of sports tracking application on their personal mobile phones. We used the SGT data to examine visitor spatial patterns on formal trails and informal paths, and present examples with runners and mountain bikers. Hotspot mapping of mountain bikers’ off-trail movement was conducted identifying several locations with clustering of off-trail use. Small-scale field mapping of three hotspot areas confirmed that the method accurately located areas of high use intensity where visible effects of path widening and high level of wear on the forest floor vegetation could be observed. We conclude that the SGT methodology offers great opportunities for gathering useful and up-to-date spatial information for adaptive planning and management as it highlights areas where conservation and visitor management measures may need to be adjusted. We suggest that this method warrants testing also for other user-centred research and planning purposes.

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