Table Mountain National Park has a problem, but Instagram can help.
Much of the park’s 221km is freely accessible, making it difficult to estimate the number of visitors and assess how they spend their time.
But Finnish researchers have found Instagram posts are an accurate proxy, especially in a large park such as the one that surrounds Cape Town.
A team from the University of Helsinki evaluated the usefulness of social media in estimating visitor numbers at 21 national parks in South Africa.
“We found the popularity of the park extracted from social media data closely followed the visitor statistics.
“However, Instagram clearly worked the best,” lead author Henrikki Tenkanen wrote in the journal Scientific Reports.
The findings showed social media could be used to assess the intensity of human activities to inform conservation prioritisation. ” Dave Chambers