20 December 2021

A recently published MAIA-supported research article is available in the Nature journal. The study has been conducted by a team of leading scientists amongst whom are the MAIA coordinator Prof. Lars Hein and project member Ilan Havinga, both from the Wageningen University, The Netherlands, as well as MAIA member Patrick W. Bogaart (Statistics Netherlands CBS, The Hague, The Netherlands). 

The paper looks into how social media and deep learning can support significant advances in modelling the aesthetic contributions of ecosystems for ecosystem services (ES) assessments. Ecosystem service (ES) assessments record the aesthetic contributions of landscapes to peoples’ well-being in support of sustainable policy goals. However, the survey methods available to measure these contributions restrict modelling at large scales. As a result, most studies rely on environmental indicator models but these do not incorporate peoples’ actual use of the landscape.

Against this background, the MAIA experts have applied a novel modelling approach that generates a strong and comparable level of accuracy versus an indicator model and, in combination, captures additional aesthetic information. As such, they have tested the accuracy of Flickr and deep learning-based models of landscape quality using a crowdsourced survey in Great Britain.

Read the full paper here.

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