Exploring visitor movement patterns in natural recreational areas

D.A. Orellana, A.K. Bregt, A. Ligtenberg, M. Wachowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)


GPS technology is widely used to produce detailed data on the movement of people. Analysing massive amounts of GPS data, however, can be cumbersome. We present a novel approach to processing such data to aid interpretation and understanding of the aggregated movement of visitors in natural recreational areas. It involves the combined analysis of two kinds of movement patterns: ‘Movement Suspension Patterns’ (MSPs) and ‘Generalized Sequential Patterns’ (GSPs). MSPs denote the suspension of movement when walkers stop at a place, and are used to discover places of interest to visitors. GSPs represent the generalized sequence in which the places are visited, regardless of the trajectory followed, and are used to uncover commonalities in the way that people visit the area. Both patterns were analysed in a geographical context to characterise the aggregated flow of people and provide insights into visitors’ preferences and their interactions with the environment. We demonstrate the application of the approach in the Dwingelderveld National Park (The Netherlands).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-682
JournalTourism Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • human mobility
  • trajectories
  • models


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