The aftereffects of disaster events are significant in tourist destinations where they do not only lead to destruction and casualties, but also long-lasting economic harms. The public perception causes tourists to refrain from visiting these areas and recovery of the tourist industry, a major economic sector, to become challenging. To improve this situation, current information about the tourist and infrastructure recovery is crucial for a “rebranding”- information that is however time and cost-intensive in acquisition using traditional information sources. An alternative data source that has shown great potential for information gathering in other disaster management phases, which was less considered for disaster recovery purposes, is Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). Therefore, a recently accepted paper introduces a VGI-based methodology to address this task. Initial analyses conducted with Flickr data indicate a potential of VGI for recovery monitoring, whereas the analysis of OpenStreetMap data shows, that this form of VGI requires further quality assurance.
Potentially OSM data could be utilized to estimate the level of reconstruction of highways and buildings, the Flickr data could, in turn, facilitate the monitoring of tourist activity. The results of the data assessment conducted with Flickr data indicate indeed a potential of VGI for recovery monitoring. Nevertheless, the analysis of data from OpenStreetMap shows, that this form of VGI requires further quality assurance and can’t be utilized as simple. Therefore, there are several further steps that need to be taken into consideration to allow better exploitation of this new data sources.The monitoring of the activity of tourist within the Flickr users indicates different pattern before and after the disaster events. While the tourist season in general starts by November and lasts till April/ May, in the year of the disaster the tourist activity seemed to be delayed and dropping again before reaching a similar count considering the year before and after the disaster events.
Finally, the representativeness of Flickr photos is of great concern for this research. The representativeness of Flickr is not very well and needs to be improved. Further analysis could be conducted using different forms of social media and a larger study area to enable confirming the potential trends. The limitations also suggest that VGI data from Flickr are not an exclusive source of geographic information to monitor tourist destination recovery. VGI could hereby be used rather as a complementary source of information to validate official information or add details. Thus, further research could also expand the approaches proposed in this paper to combine VGI and other data sources and thereby help to improve existing resources.
Eckle, M.; Herfort, B.; Yan, Y.; Kuo, C-L.; Zipf, A. (2017): Towards using Volunteered Geographic Information to monitor post-disaster recovery in tourist destinations. ISCRAM 2017. 14th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response And Management. Albi, France. (accepted)