The TANAP team has long struggled with inaccurate data on the number of people coming to the Tatras. Insufficient statistics made it difficult to plan new investments and made it difficult for administrators to manage tourism. So this time we used our mapping technology to create an online service that tracks visitor movements in the Tatras and gives conservationists, foresters and rangers an accurate overview of the state of tourism.
Tatra National Park (TANAP) is the oldest national park in Slovakia. It is visited by around 3.5 million tourists and other mountain lovers annually. There are around 600 kilometres of official hiking trails. Tatra nature lives its own life, but it is increasingly influenced by humans. Therefore, it is important to be aware of and correct the amount of movement in the Tatras.
In 2021, TANAP approached us with a plan to improve the tourism monitoring system in the park. They knew that we at Mapotic had experience with tracking maps and that we could give them accurate numbers not only about the movement of people, but also about temperatures in certain areas of the park.
The TANAP team already had the numbers of visitors to the park before our cooperation, but it was not enough. They get data from several sources – for example, from accommodation operators or carriers. However, day tourists or those staying in private accommodation often fall through the net. They also have information from an annual census of tourists in the mountains, but the data is not accurate and the results do not help to determine anything about trends in visitation. Improvements can be made by working with mobile operators who will provide TANAP with their data. However, this will cost the park managers a lot of money and they will only get data for the whole area, which will not be broken down into individual areas as the people of the park would need.
Due to inaccurate data, people from TANAP have limited options. They cannot make objective decisions about investments based on clear data, and it is difficult for them to manage and correct tourism.
Therefore, they approached us with a request for measuring equipment and clear results in the form of maps.
We set about selecting the most suitable monitoring equipment and fine-tuned the system for transmitting sensor data. We used the technology of monitoring moving objects (visitors to the Tatra Mountains) as well as a large number of data obtained from predetermined locations, for example, temperature measurements in precisely defined locations in the park. We transmit data from remote locations to the system using so-called telemetry. We have built the monitoring system on 4 basic pillars:
Thanks to Mapotic, the national park receives data from tracking visitors as well as data from sensors that examine values such as the current temperature. It's called remote sensing, and in short it means that we are able to get data into the system from places that are hundreds of kilometres away. This is possible thanks to the cooperation with Hardwario, from whom we have the software. "Clients often ask me about readings from certain locations. They are interested in how it works and how much the hardware costs. Then they are surprised and say, 'Wow, that's so cheap,' and want to know more details," says Mapotic CEO Ivo Gajdorus.
As a key technology we chose GPS sensors from Hardwario in waterproof housings, which we placed on posts, basket holders, stones, bridges, tree trunks, stumps or branches. Thanks to GPS technology, the sensor can be repositioned at any time and still function as it should. The sensors are based on a powerful battery that lasts up to two years. The sensors have a range of 5 metres and send data regularly once a day using the Vodafone NB-IoT network. This is connected to the IoT network and has good coverage throughout the park.
In order to see how it will work, we first started a pilot project together with people from TANAP. Together we selected less and more frequented routes and deployed sensors.
The park rangers needed to view the results on the web. We prepared for them overall reports in the form of classic maps, a dashboard with an overview of statistics and heat maps, which are ideal for comparing temperatures in different areas of the park. Park rangers can view the data on desktop and mobile, filter, export and further manipulate it. The detailed statistics were the most important result of our cooperation for the people of TANAP.
By launching the monitoring of tourists in the Tatras, the administrators will finally get accurate data on visitor numbers. They will know which routes are overloaded and in urgent need of increased capacity. They will also be able to see where it does not make sense to plan investments at the moment.
The sensors can be moved around the park to measure data in different places. Thanks to this, the TANAP people, in cooperation with the Mapotic team, can gradually fine-tune their most suitable location.
European structural and investment funds Operation programme Prague – Growth Pole Czech Republic.