Social media photos have proven to be an invaluable resource for natural exploration.

The use of materials from social media, in particular from Instagram, Flickr and Panoramio, has enabled researchers at the University of North Carolina to collect a wealth of valuable information to form models in the field of land use, environmental planning and other equally important areas.

According to one of the leading specialists of the project, Derek Van Berkel, information obtained from social media will help scientists to better understand the state of our environment.

So recently, land use in Europe is undergoing significant changes due to urbanization. More and more land designated for agriculture, mining and forestry is becoming a place where recreational, leisure and tourism infrastructure is being built.

“Geospatial analysis, ” continues Derek Van Berkel, “allows us to study landscape change due to urbanization. Our goal is to predict what will happen in different situations. "

Crowdsourcing, a kind of brainstorming of predictive models, may help the inhabitants of the Swiss Alps make the right decision regarding the use of mountain meadows - for grazing, building cottages or ski resorts.

In turn, people in France can choose between using the land for large-scale agricultural production and investing in the conservation of traditional hedges around the fields to preserve the beauty of the landscape and as a habitat for birds and pollinating insects.