Archaeological sites are popular tourist destinations. But large numbers of visitors often present unique management and conservation challenges. High volumes of tourists can create congestion, which can harm the visitor experience. Archaeological sites are also vulnerable to erosion and damage caused by large numbers of people.
In 2015, the Peruvian Ministry of Culture wanted to conduct a study to see how many visitors could safely visit Machu Picchu at one time without damaging the sanctuary or diminishing the tourist experience. Cultural Site Research and Management (CSRM), the organization tasked with carrying out the study, used a combination of infrared sensors, visitor observation, 3D modeling, network analysis, and mobile and web-based GIS to assess and improve movement around one of the most visited archaeological sites in the world.
Researchers used ArcGIS Network Analyst to record tourists’ typical visit times along paths and in significant locations at Machu Picchu, making it possible to explore alternative routes.