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.

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Research

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.

Fine-scale maps of recreational use

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

Learning who is (and isn’t) recreating

Understanding who uses public lands in order to increase opportunities and equity of outdoor recreation

Enhancing the benefits of outdoor recreation

Identifying where gaps outdoor opportunities can be filled by better management, built infrastructure, and ecological restoration

Community

We are committed to making our science accessible and relevant to a broad community, including researchers, practitioners, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Visitors Count!

Visitors Count! is a community science program that asks visitors to contribute information about their recreation experiences on public lands

Recent Publications

Next-generation visitation models using social media to estimate recreation on public lands

Outdoor and nature-based recreation provides countless social benefits, yet public land managers often lack information on the spatial …

Online auction marketplaces as a global pathway for aquatic invasive species

The ornamental aquarium pet trade is a leading pathway for the introduction of aquatic invasive species. In addition to purchasing live …

Quantifying biases in social media analysis of recreation in urban parks

Recent years have seen an increase in the use of social media data for various decision-making purposes in the context of Urban …

A bobber's perspective on angler-driven vectors of invasive species transmission

Prevention of aquatic invasive species is a fundamental management challenge. With hundreds of millions of people participating in …