Peek as a research tool: collecting data on the contribution of trees to the neighborhood

Encouraging both youth and seniors to explore their neighborhood while simultaneously gathering data for research: researchers from Wageningen Research (Business Unit Agrosystems Research) utilize the Peek app for this purpose.

Everyone knows it’s more pleasant to be in the shade of a tree on a hot day, but the actual extent of the tree’s contribution is not immediately clear. Concrete figures regarding the performance of trees are lacking. Researchers from Wageningen Research are searching for indicators that can best express this value. In a recent study, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were selected and tested in four Dutch municipalities. The Peek software was employed as the data collection instrument.

“Making the subject matter more engaging”

The Dutch magazine ‘Tuin en Landschap’ wrote an article about the research and the contribution of Peek. In the article (available for download below), it describes how an enjoyable, interesting, and challenging excursion was organized in Peek, followed by mostly primary school students. Teachers are enthusiastic: “The app provided them with a great outdoor activity, making the subject matter about trees more engaging for the students. The app proved suitable for all ages and educational levels.”

Fun, educational, and useful

An enjoyable and appealing excursion for your target groups is advantageous, but it’s essential (in this case) that it also yields relevant information for the research. Therefore, the students were also asked whether they are satisfied with the types of trees and with the birds and other animals these trees attract. If the student considers this important and is satisfied, then the tree provides this service. If the student deems it important but is not satisfied, then the municipality and the green provider can consider making changes to the green plan to better suit the needs of the citizens. Thus, the information via the app provides concrete input for the KPIs of urban trees.

Peek app as an event recorder

The article also mentions that Peek can be used as an ‘event recorder.’ “The results of the excursion give a good idea of what the students are doing where. Local policies can also be aligned with this. Just like an annual bird or butterfly count, the app can be used to see whether trees in certain neighborhoods contribute to outdoor activities and social encounters.

These data can be entered into a dashboard in the future, showing under what conditions trees (species, quantity, placement relative to playground equipment/benches, etc.) contribute to outdoor activities and social encounters under and around trees.

Like other apps, this requires active communication with the user groups. It’s not as though children will quickly use the app multiple times. A momentum needs to be created, similar to other apps and digital tours. The advantage is that national formats can be developed for this purpose. This allows for gaining an impression of how trees perform in the social domain in relatively short time compared to local initiatives.”

Data management in Peek

Results of an excursion, even when it concerns large amounts of (research) data, are easily accessible in My Peek. In My Peek, the data can be viewed directly in a dashboard, and furthermore, it’s easy to export the data to manage it in, for example, Excel or PowerBI. Want to know how you can use Peek for your research? Then contact us.

More information

Want to know more about this subject? Join us at the Peek Day – one of the sessions will be about this topic.