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Wednesday, April 11 • 4:15pm - 4:30pm
SYMPOSIA-17: EnviroAtlas’ National Assessment of Cultural Ecosystem Services: Leveraging Social Media to Understand America’s Most Valued Landscapes

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AUTHORS: Derek Van Berkel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

ABSTRACT: While the United States is home to many special places that deliver numerous cultural ecosystem services (CES), there has yet to be a national assessment of these benefits. Identifying and characterizing locations that are appreciated for their beauty, opportunities for outdoor activities, and sense of places can help in conservation prioritization and the development of management standards for preserving the unique qualities that make these locations attractive. In this presentation, we describe a new initiative by the EPA for assessing CES across the US using social media. Approximately 6 million photographs and their volunteered locations are analyzed to understand valued locations, dominate activities and the spatial characteristics associated with these places. We classify photographic content from Flikr and Panoramio using Google Vision, a machine learning algorithm that allows for distinguishing between relevant CES and other content. Based on the calculated viewsheds of these filtered locations, we model the characteristics associated with highly photographed and visited areas. Mapping model results contributes to identifying special locations, while also characterizing both synergistic qualities that enhance CES and the built and environmental characteristics that conflict with these benefits.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 4:15pm - 4:30pm CDT
LaSalle 5 (7th Floor)