Researching nature-based tourism and recreation
Outdoor R&D is the University of Washington’s Outdoor Recreation and Data Lab. We do data-driven research on the benefits of outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism. Our studies meld methods from environmental science, social science, and computer science – combining visitor surveys and other on-site data with big volunteered data from citizen scientists, social media, and mobile applications. We develop open-source software and reproducible approaches that make big geographic data and models more accessible for decision-makers. The Outdoor R&D team looks for partnerships where novel and innovative methods and data can inform management and improve opportunities for outdoor recreation.
We use novel methods to generate information on the character of outdoor recreational use, in order to illuminate ways that well-managed, maintained, and accessible open spaces offer unique and critical places to recreate.
Innovating the use of crowd-sourced data and volunteered information from social media users and citizen scientists as instant and real-time data on recreation
Understanding who uses public lands in order to increase opportunities and equity of outdoor recreation
Identifying where gaps outdoor opportunities can be filled by better management, built infrastructure, and ecological restoration
We are committed to making our science accessible and relevant to a broad community, including researchers, practitioners, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Since 2018, the Outdoor R&D Team has been successfully deploying our friendly chatbot “Vic” to engage with community scientists on public lands across the US.
Outdoor enthusiasts in Washington are encouraged to submit additional information about their experiences at recreation sites on Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.