Landscapes are increasingly recognized for providing valuable cultural ecosystem services with numer- ous non-material benefits by serving as places of rest, relaxation, and inspiration that ultimately improve overall mental health and physical well-being. Maintaining and enhancing these valuable benefits through targeted management and conservation measures requires understanding the spatial and tem- poral determinants of perceived landscape values. Content contributed through mobile technologies and the web are emerging globally, providing a promising data source for localizing and assessing these land- scape benefits. These georeferenced data offer rich in situ qualitative information through photos and comments that capture valued and special locations across large geographic areas. We present a novel method for mapping and modeling landscape values and perceptions that leverages viewshed analysis of georeferenced social media data. Using a high resolution LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) derived digital surface model, we are able to evaluate landscape characteristics associated with the visual- sensory qualities of outdoor recreationalists. Our results show the importance of historical monuments and attractions in addition to specific environmental features which are appreciated by the public. Evaluation of photo-image content highlights the opportunity of including temporally and spatially vari- able visual-sensory qualities in cultural ecosystem services (CES) evaluation like the sights, sounds and smells of wildlife and weather phenomena.
Additional publication details
Quantifying the visual-sensory landscape qualities that contribute to cultural ecosystem services using social media and LiDAR
Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center