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About the map

Beaches are always a hot-spot for tourists during a heatwave. Normally, this boom in tourism is a welcome income for coastal towns. 2020 however, has been anything but normal. As lockdown restrictions eased, millions set their sights upon the beautiful beaches near (or not so near) them. With social distancing laws enforced, tourists were required to stay at least 2m away from anyone not in their household bubble. Using spatial analysis, we wanted to see how many people could actually fit on some of these beaches.

Why it works

This concept really spotlights the potential of using GIS amid a pandemic, because it shows an alternative way that mapping can be used to answer spatial questions surrounding COVID-19. While our analysis was hypothetical, it helped answer the issues of overcrowded beaches and how many people could safely fit on a beach. The analysis was then used by local councils as rough guidance to restrict tourist numbers in densely packed areas.

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Statistics

Beach name

Capacity at 2m social distancing

Beach area (m2)

Perranporth, Cornwall, England

80,503

1,115,445

Bournemouth, Dorset, England

78,628

1,089,463

Brighton, East Sussex, England

61,723

855,231

Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland

36,078

499,895

Whitley Bay, Newcastle, England

28,848

399,715

Luskentyre, Scotland

24,243

335,911

Newquay, Cornwall, England

23,777

329,451

Weymouth, Dorset, England

18,349

254,246

Barafundle, Pembrokeshire, Wales

3,246

44,973

Durdle Door, Dorset, England

3,137

43,472

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