Title: Evaluating children's location using a personal GPS logging instrument: limitations and lessons learned.
Authors: Dueker, Donna; Taher, Maryam; Wilson, John; McConnell, Rob
Published In J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol, (2014 May-Jun)
Abstract: Global positioning system (GPS) technology is increasingly used to assess geographically varying exposure in population studies. However, there has been limited evaluation of accuracy and completeness of personal GPS data. The ability of a GPS data logger to assess location of children during usual activity was evaluated. Data collected for 4 days from 17 children wearing GPS loggers, recorded every 15 s, were evaluated for completeness by time of day during weekend and weekdays, and for accuracy during nighttime at home. Percentage of possible GPS-recorded points and of 5-min intervals with at least one recorded location were examined. Mean percentage of total possible 15-s interval locations recorded daily was less than 30%. Across participants, the GPS loggers recorded 1-47% of total possible location points on weekends and 1-55% on weekdays. More complete data were measured during travel to school (average 91%). The percentage of daily 5-min intervals with recorded data was as high as 53%. At least one location was recorded during 69% of 5-min intervals before school (0630-0800 h), 62% during school (0800-1400 h) and 56% after school (1400-1700 h). During night time (0000-0600 h), on average, location was recorded for less than 25% of 5-min intervals and accuracy was poor. The large proportion of missing data limits the usefulness of GPS logging instruments for population studies. They have potential utility for assessing on-road travel time and route. GPS technology has limitations, and lessons learned from this evaluation can be generalized to the use of GPS in other research settings.
PubMed ID: 23549404
MeSH Terms: California; Child; Geographic Information Systems*; Humans