Evaluating the Role of Social Media in Species Distribution Modelling
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This research undertook an evaluation of the capabilities of Social Media Geographic Information (SMGI) for producing Species Distribution Models (SDM) of the monarch butterfly, on a level comparable to those produced by an established Citizen Science Project: Journey North (JN). Data was collected from the social media websites Twitter and Flickr using their public Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The data was then processed to remove erroneous and unwanted results, to provide datasets of geographically referenced points relating to monarch observations. Data quantities were higher for Twitter than Flickr but lower when compared to the JN dataset. For both dataset, results of analysis showed promising comparability with the JN data. However, it was clear that for the Twitter implementations need to be put in place to improve the quality of the data used in the final output. There were suggestions that the Flickr data produces a result of higher quality, but a larger sample size would need to be produced to confirm this.