phd cover eduardoMobile Information Services in Natural Areas

The intensive use of parks and natural areas poses sustainability issues and creates new problems to the management of these areas. Large numbers of visitors, for instance, have negative impacts and deteriorate environmental quality, the very asset that makes the areas attractive. At the same time, area managers have to serve the needs of large amounts of visitors, with issues ranging, for instance, from visitors’ safety to information provision. This PhD research addresses the use of ICT to facilitate information access, exchange and provision in natural areas, especially as concerns two user groups: the visitors and the park managers. The basic assumption is that by introducing or improving information flows it is possible to affect user’s behaviour towards a more sustainable use of natural resources, while providing park managers’ with tools to manage e.g. visitors distribution and geographic behaviour. More specifically, the research addresses the information needs of visitors in the field and will investigate whether new technologies as wireless location-based information system can meet the needs of visitors and park managers.