Visitors’ behavior and landscape perception: A case study of Saguaro National Park based on social media data

Authors: Shujuan Li*, University of Arizona, Bo Yang, University of Arizona
Topics: Recreational and Sport Geography, Environmental Perception, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Landscape Perception, Social Media, Ecosystem Services, Saguaro National Park
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In studying geographical places, photo elicitation has been developed as a method for collecting data on sense of place. Visitor-employed photography has been generated in previous studies. There have been quantitative content analysis and qualitative semiotic analysis methods for analyzing a photo. A limitation of such approaches is the difficulty to scale the data collection effort to include a large group of participants over a long time period. Social media nowadays emerges as a new source of studying human activities and landscape perception. Among different formats of social media data, photos shared on social media are the most popular one in landscape studies. This study combines spatial and temporal information of Flickr data to explore visitors' behaviors in the Saguaro National Park. Photo contents are coded to extract visitor's perception of the landscape. And then, we investigate the relationships between visitors' behaviors and their perceptions. In this study, visitors' navigating through the park are mainly by road trip and trail hiking. There is also a small portion of visitors also took backcountry hiking (15.2%). Like road tripper, trail hiker and backcountry hiker upload a significant part of the photos about the Saguaro landscape and cactus. Different from road tripper, trail hikers upload much higher percentage of photos about the Saguaro landscape, and backcountry hikers' top photo content is about wildlife. Different visitors present different focus perceptions of the Park.

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