Changes in nature visitation and the potential of mobile big data for visitor monitoring – Report from an expert workshop out now!

Aina Brias Guinart introducing a workshop task to the participants.

The importance of natural areas for recreation and conservation alike is critical, yet we often don’t know how many people visit them and why. Such information is necessary for the management and development of natural areas, which is why research by our lab and others have considered mobile big data sources (think data from mobile phones, social media etc.) as a way to monitor outdoor recreation. Yet, translating scientific research into actionable information for management is not straightforward – is it even wise? What kind of information do managers of natural areas need? What sort of changes do they managers see, how do these affect their information needs, and what sort of larger trends drive these changes? 

Researchers in project Mobicon called together experts from Finnish nature organizations to reflect on these questions in September 2023. The aim of the workshop was to collect expert opinions related to the changes in the recreational use of nature, the monitoring needs related to the changing visitations, and to discuss the possibilities of various new data sources to meet managerial information needs. 

This workshop was the first of a series repeated in March 2024 in the Canary Islands. We have now released a report on the outcome of the Helsinki workshop. Check it out! 

In English: 


If you wish to cite the reports, you may use:

Toivonen, T., Brias Guinart, A., Eklund, J., Hästbacka, M., Leppämäki, T. and Torkko, J. (2023). Potential of mobile big data for visitor monitoring: Report of the MOBICON workshop held in Helsinki 28.9.2023. Helsinki: Digital Geography Lab, University of Helsinki. doi:10.31885/2024.030501

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The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the University of Helsinki.