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Comparison of Flickr and Public Participation GIS to characterise the types, spatial patterns and socio-ecological drivers of social values for the Kimberley region

Daymond, Tahlia (2020) Comparison of Flickr and Public Participation GIS to characterise the types, spatial patterns and socio-ecological drivers of social values for the Kimberley region. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Coastal and marine environments are highly valued for the resources and services they provide. To sustainably manage these environments, we need to understand what people value and where these values occur, but spatial data is not always easily obtainable. Crowdsourcing methods such as the retrieval of geotagged photographs from the photo-sharing social media platform Flickr and Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) that use field-based or online mapping techniques enable the identification, quantification and mapping of social values. This study compared these methods to evaluate whether Flickr provides similar data to PPGIS about values and where they are likely to occur.

A total of 5,293 geotagged Flickr photographs of the natural environment were retrieved for the Kimberley region in Western Australia. The relative abundance of the ten evaluated value types differed between Flickr and two previously published PPGIS datasets involving field-based interviews (p < 0.001) and an online survey (p < 0.001), but scenic/aesthetic and nature appreciation were highly valued in all studies. There were clear distinctions in the spatial patterns of where values were recorded; Flickr users tended to take photographs near easily-accessible locations, whereas PPGIS participants mapped values across most of the Kimberley coastline. Spatial modelling performed to investigate the distribution of value types revealed accessibility was the main driver to where Flickr users were likely to take photographs within the Kimberley region. In contrast, values mapped by PPGIS participants were more broadly distributed and therefore the models were less able to identify strong relationships with the evaluated drivers. Despite this, value types mapped by both methods were concentrated near the coastline and the few major towns of the region, likely due to these being familiar places and popular tourism destinations.

Values crowdsourced through Flickr and PPGIS can be used together to take advantage of their reinforcing and complementary information. Whilst PPGIS enabled more value types to be identified within the study area and over a greater spatial distribution, Flickr can be used to provide further depth of information, such as insight into certain value types through photograph content analysis and by highlighting locations of visitation that may need management. The findings of this study can be valuable to inform future planning and management of coastal and marine environments, especially where spatial data may be limited.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Supervisor(s): Andrew, Margaret and Kobryn, Halina
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