The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is to install gateways and sensor devices that will connect it to North’s IoT Scotland network.
North currently runs the £6 million IoT Scotland network with funding from the Scottish government and its enterprise schemes, providing the infrastructure for companies to tap into smart sensor applications.
The proposal came as a result of the unprecedented surge in visitors Scotland’s natural parks saw during the pandemic and a desire to help manage these tourism surges in a sustainable way.
Alasdair Rettie, group technical director at North, said: “The pandemic has seen a huge upsurge in people taking up walking and outdoor activities and it is important that data plays a role in monitoring such trends to protect beauty spots, ensuring that we can facilitate tourism in a sustainable way.
Through the installation of gateways and sensors, the CNPA and other local authorities will be able to use innovative technologies to monitor footfall, route usage and vehicle parking. It will also allow local businesses to deploy data gathering sensors that will provide insights to help them improve their services.
The footfall and car park sensors will be installed around the Aviemore and Cairngorm areas and will communicate with the IoT Scotland network through gateways set up at Glenmore Lodge, Ciste, Day Lodge and two buildings within Aviemore.
Using the data from footfall around the area, the authorities at Cairngorms and partners will be able to monitor the most popular routes and carparks to ensure they are effectively managed to prevent degradation of the natural beauty spots.
Adam Streeter-Smith, recreation and access manager for CNPA, said: “We are in the process of purchasing path and vehicle counters which will be deployed locally in partnership with local land managers, including Forest and Land Scotland and Cairngorm Mountain.
In time, the data collected will help us all build up a much better picture of who uses the area and the peak times for visiting. We will make this information available for others to use so that we can manage the area better.”