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Time weighted approaches for combining GPS and area level data to create individual exposure measures

Authors: Daniel Fuller*, , Henry Luan, University of Oregon, Ali Alfosool, Memorial University, Yuanzhu Chen, Memorial University
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: gps data, health geography, exposure
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Collection of global positioning system (GPS) data from wearable devices, including smartphones, is increasingly common. However, health researchers are often challenged with exposure data that are available at census geography levels. For example, urban sprawl or walkability measures are calculated at the area level. The challenge for health geographers is how to link GPS and area level data to create individual level exposure measures for health research.

We used individual level GPS data from the Interventions, Research, and Action in Cities Team (INTERACT) studies, conducted in Victoria, Vancouver, Saskatoon, and Montreal and two area level measures. First, the Canadian Active Living Environments (Can-ALE) and an urban sprawl measure developed with the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium. We propose two methods to derive individual level exposure to active living environments and urban sprawl using GPS and area level data. The first method uses a time weighted approach to combine GPS and area level data. The second method uses a similar approach but first applies published methods to distinguish trips and dwells prior to applying our time weighted approach. We examine differences between the two methods based on different levels of temporal aggregation, days and weeks.

We present an approach for deriving exposure to active living environments and urban sprawl in cases when GPS and area level data must be combined to create single daily or weekly values for exposure to urban environmental characteristics.

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