To reduce risk when enjoying our public spaces, people first need to know what’s available and what they can expect when they get there. The novel approach for leveraging CDC and Google popularity data has produced a simple but powerful user interface. Parkpulse is designed to support safe and equitable access to parks and nature by empowering users with detailed location-specific park information for making recreation choices.
This project originated from a collaborative response to the COVID-19 global pandemic with the State of Oregon Office of Outdoor Recreation. It was delivered pro-bono with the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability. Parkpulse aggregates information from over 7,200 parks and recreation points and displays a user-specific data set, with custom metrics for crowding potential and the prevalence of COVID-19 nearby. This is the only agency-blind public access mapping tool for Oregon with this level of coverage.
While management of outdoor recreation resources is fundamentally siloed, the user’s experience is not; people generally seek outdoor recreation opportunities based on desired experiences and don’t differentiate potential destinations based on managing agencies. Providing comprehensive and aggregated information on possible destinations in an interactive, user-friendly format represents a profound and previously unmet need. This need is heightened during the global pandemic when agencies face extraordinary management challenges, use of outdoor recreation increases, and risks from crowding remains real. By providing recreation users with this information, smarter outdoor recreation choices can be made, which benefits both the recreation managers and recreation users.
* The New York Times COVID-19 dashboard on GitHub is no longer being updated, including the data that the parkpulse.io API references for the COVID Risk and Prevalence metrics. These metrics on parkpulse.io should now be considered obsolete.