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23Jun2015

GPS Tracking For Humans Visiting National Parks

 

Scientists are now tracking humans that wander in the grounds of national parks. The new GPS system helps park officials to determine how humans affect the natural ecosystem. It also helps to determine make strategic decisions about park improvement.

The Rocky Mountain National Park and the Yosemite National Park are the initial participants of the practice. The latest to join the venture is Grand Teton National Park with the help of researchers from Penn State University and Utah State University.

Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs told the Associated Press, “It’s going to help us better understand the expectations, the motivations and then the ultimate experiences that people have.”

The idea of being tracked while exploring the beautiful natural parks with the light burden of carrying a GPS receiver was accepted by 80 and 90 percent of people asked. Most of them are happy that they can make a positive impact on natural parks.

Peter Newman, a professor in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development, noting, “People love their parks. They love to answer questions and know that their voice is being heard in some way.”

With the help of the data collected, it’s easy for researchers to determine whether and where to add parking lots, restrooms, and even additional trails in congested areas.

GPS helps the official to know, how people choose to spend their time in the great outdoors. “It’s getting people to the right place at the right time,” Kevin Heaslip, a Virginia Tech professor, told the AP, “so they have a better experience while they’re at the park.” And for most people, if that means being GPS-tracked for awhile, that’s a perfectly fine trade-off.

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