School of Science
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Government of Western Australia
Digital camera monitoring has revolutionised survey designs in many fields, as an important source of information. The extended sampling coverage offered by this monitoring scheme makes it preferable compared to other traditional methods of survey. However, data obtained from digital camera monitoring are often highly variable, and characterized by sparse periods of zero counts, interspersed with missing observations due to outages. In practice, missing data of relatively shorter duration are mostly observed and are often imputed using interpolation techniques, ignoring long-term trends leading to inherent estimation biases. In this study, we investigated time series forecasting methods that adequately handle intermittency and produced plausible estimates for imputation and forecasting purposes. The study utilised a yearlong digital camera monitoring data set of hourly counts of powerboat launches at three boat ramps in Western Australia. Several time series forecasting methods were evaluated and the accuracies of their point estimates of forecasts for various lead times in hours of up to one week were assessed using cross-validation techniques. Intermittent demand forecasting techniques, including Croston's method and Syntetos-Boylan Approximation (SBA) models, and count data forecasting methods including autoregressive conditional Poisson (ACP) models, integer-valued moving average (INMA) models, and integer-valued autoregressive (INAR) models were evaluated. ACP and INAR models performed better than intermittent demand forecasting techniques for short forecast horizons and provided some evidence of their sufficiency in predicting the dynamics in recreational boating activities. This result established that, in as much as intermittency may be a key feature for a given dataset, it should not override the systemic characteristics of data in the application of forecasting techniques. Our results provide plausible estimates for short-term missing data and forecasts for monitoring events, with applications in supporting proper tracking of usage of facilities, guiding resource allocations and providing insightful perspectives for management decisions.
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