Monitoring the environment and human sentiment on the Great Barrier Reef: Assessing the potential of collective sensing

Susanne Becken, Bela Stantic, Jinyan Chen, Ali Reza Alaei, Rod M. Connolly

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


With the growth of smartphone usage the number of social media posts has significantly increased and represents potentially valuable information for management, including of natural resources and the environment. Already, evidence of using ‘human sensor’ in crises management suggests that collective knowledge could be used to complement traditional monitoring. This research uses Twitter data posted from the Great Barrier Reef region, Australia, to assess whether the extent and type of data could be used to Great Barrier Reef organisations as part of their monitoring program. The analysis reveals that large amounts of tweets, covering the geographic area of interest, are available and that the pool of information providers is greatly enhanced by the large number of tourists to this region. A keyword and sentiment analysis demonstrates the usefulness of the Twitter data, but also highlights that the actual number of Reef-related tweets is comparatively small and lacks specificity. Suggestions for further steps towards the development of an integrative data platform that incorporates social media are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-97
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental monitoring
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Social media
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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