A comparison of temporal and location-based sampling strategies for global positioning system-triggered electronic diaries

  • Tobias Törnros Institute of Geography, GIScience Research Group, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Helen Dorn Institute of Geography, GIScience Research Group, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Markus Reichert Department of Sports and Sport Science, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe; Central Institute of Mental Health, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Ulrich Ebner-Priemer Department of Sports and Sport Science, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe; Central Institute of Mental Health, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Hans-Joachim Salize Central Institute of Mental Health, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Heike Tost Central Institute of Mental Health, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg Central Institute of Mental Health, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Alexander Zipf | zipf@uni-heidelberg.de Institute of Geography, GIScience Research Group, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany.

Abstract

Self-reporting is a well-established approach within the medical and psychological sciences. In order to avoid recall bias, i.e. past events being remembered inaccurately, the reports can be filled out on a smartphone in real-time and in the natural environment. This is often referred to as ambulatory assessment and the reports are usually triggered at regular time intervals. With this sampling scheme, however, rare events (e.g. a visit to a park or recreation area) are likely to be missed. When addressing the correlation between mood and the environment, it may therefore be beneficial to include participant locations within the ambulatory assessment sampling scheme. Based on the geographical coordinates, the database query system then decides if a self-report should be triggered or not. We simulated four different ambulatory assessment sampling schemes based on movement data (coordinates by minute) from 143 voluntary participants tracked for seven consecutive days. Two location-based sampling schemes incorporating the environmental characteristics (land use and population density) at each participant’s location were introduced and compared to a time-based sampling scheme triggering a report on the hour as well as to a sampling scheme incorporating physical activity. We show that location-based sampling schemes trigger a report less often, but we obtain more unique trigger positions and a greater spatial spread in comparison to sampling strategies based on time and distance. Additionally, the location-based methods trigger significantly more often at rarely visited types of land use and less often outside the study region where no underlying environmental data are available.

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Published
2016-11-21
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Original Articles
Keywords:
Ambulatory assessment, Ecological momentary assessment, Experience sampling method, Natural surroundings, GIScience
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How to Cite
Törnros, T., Dorn, H., Reichert, M., Ebner-Priemer, U., Salize, H.-J., Tost, H., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., & Zipf, A. (2016). A comparison of temporal and location-based sampling strategies for global positioning system-triggered electronic diaries. Geospatial Health, 11(3). https://doi.org/10.4081/gh.2016.473