Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. David Lemberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Emerson

Third Advisor

Dr. Brian Petersen

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

As technology continues to improve, personal and mobile technologies are becoming ubiquitous, being used for everything from social media to data collection. Crowdsourcing is a form of mobile data collection that calls upon a group of people to help solve a complex problem. In recent years, crowdsourcing has become an important component in data collection for managing natural disasters, allowing disaster relief systems to improve response time and coordination protocols. Natural resource and land managers are also starting to use these new technology-based and location-aware systems to improve management. By calling upon users of the recreation areas to help identify management issues, managers can improve the response times to these issues, and alter their management plans in accordance with the types and frequencies of issues reported. In this study, a mobile, smartphone application was created for Asylum Lake Preserve, which is located in Kalamazoo, MI. The app contains user information, trail maps, and points of interest found within the preserve. More importantly, the app includes a form for reporting management issues that is sent to the manager of the preserve. The goal of this thesis is to determine if crowdsourcing management issues with a mobile application can improve the management of a natural recreation area.

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