Exploring human–nature interactions in national parks with social media photographs and computer vision

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


Understanding the activities and preferences of visitors is crucial for managing protected areas and planning conservation strategies. Conservation culturomics promotes the use of user-generated online content in conservation science. Geotagged social media content is a unique source of in situ information on human presence and activities in nature. Photographs posted on social media platforms are a promising source of information, but analyzing large volumes of photographs manually remains laborious. We examined the application of state-of-the-art computer-vision methods to studying human-nature interactions. We used semantic clustering, scene classification, and object detection to automatically analyze photographs taken in Finnish national parks by domestic and international visitors. Our results showed that human-nature interactions can be extracted from user-generated photographs with computer vision. The different methods complemented each other by revealing broad visual themes related to level of the data set, landscape photogeneity, and human activities. Geotagged photographs revealed distinct regional profiles for national parks (e.g., preferences in landscapes and activities), which are potentially useful in park management. Photographic content differed between domestic and international visitors, which indicates differences in activities and preferences. Information extracted automatically from photographs can help identify preferences among diverse visitor groups, which can be used to create profiles of national parks for conservation marketing and to support conservation strategies that rely on public acceptance. The application of computer-vision methods to automatic content analysis of photographs should be explored further in conservation culturomics, particularly in combination with rich metadata available on social media platforms.

LehtiConservation Biology
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - huhtik. 2021
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


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