Analysing Human Mobility Patterns of Hiking Activities through Complex Network Theory

Isaac Lera; Toni Pérez; Carlos Guerrero; Víctor M. Eguíluz; Carlos Juiz
PLoS ONE 12, e0177712 (2017)

The exploitation of high volume of geolocalized data from social sport tracking applications of outdoor activities can be useful for natural resource planning and to understand the human mobility patterns during leisure activities. This geolocalized data represents the selection of hike activities according to subjective and objective factors such as personal goals, personal abilities, trail conditions or weather conditions. In our approach, human mobility patterns are analysed from trajectories which are generated by hikers. We propose the generation of the trail network identifying special points in the overlap of trajectories. Trail crossings and trailheads define our network and shape topological features. We analyse the trail network of Balearic Islands, as a case of study, using complex weighted network theory. The analysis is divided into the four seasons of the year to observe the impact of weather conditions on the network topology. The number of visited places does not decrease despite the large difference in the number of samples of the two seasons with larger and lower activity. It is in summer season where it is produced the most significant variation in the frequency and localization of activities from inland regions to coastal areas. Finally, we compare our model with other related studies where the network possesses a different purpose. One finding of our approach is the detection of regions with relevant importance where landscape interventions can be applied in function of the communities.

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