Using Public Participation GIS to monitor tourism-related impacts in national parks

Theme 2. Connectivity
Session Name 2.5 Arctic tourism development: Prospects and challenges?
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter
Author(s) Miisa Pietilä (University of Oulu, Finland)
Abstract text

The increasing visitation to national parks inevitably causes changes to the physical and social environments of these areas. According to the principles of co-management, stakeholders such as visitors should be involved in managing the impacts they have on the environment. This study investigates potentials for a Public Participation (PP) GIS approach to collect and analyze visitor experiences to manage tourism-related impacts in parks. The study combines knowledge from two map-based surveys conducted in Oulanka National Park and interviews with managers in Metsähallitus, Parks and Wildlife Finland.


The study encourages the use of PPGIS for collecting information on tourism-related impacts, because the approach allows for analyzing impacts at site level, preventing potential misleading generalizations about the state of a national park. Moreover, PPGIS is recognized as a valuable method in detecting differences in perceptions of managers and visitors on site conditions, which can aid in prioritizing management actions that promote visitor satisfaction.


For the future, the study recommends that PPGIS surveys be carried out using smartphone applications to increase precision of mapping outcomes. In addition, further development is needed to create professional analysis interfaces that can automatically quantify the results from PPGIS surveys. These would enable the spatial data on visitor experiences to be easily integrated into databases that are used when evaluating changes in the environments of the park, and for planning site-level management actions.

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