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Benefits of Mobile Phone Technology for Personal Environmental Monitoring

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Title: Benefits of Mobile Phone Technology for Personal Environmental Monitoring
Authors: Donaire-Gonzalez, D
Valentin, A
De Nazelle, A
Ambros, A
Carrasco-Turigas, G
Seto, E
Jerrett, M
Nieuwenhuijsen, MJ
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background: Tracking individuals in environmental epidemiological studies using novel mobile phone technologies can provide valuable information on geolocation and physical activity, which will improve our understanding of environmental exposures. Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the performance of one of the least expensive mobile phones on the market to track people's travel-activity pattern. Methods: Adults living and working in Barcelona (72/162 bicycle commuters) carried simultaneously a mobile phone and a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracker and filled in a travel-activity diary (TAD) for 1 week (N=162). The CalFit app for mobile phones was used to log participants’ geographical location and physical activity. The geographical location data were assigned to different microenvironments (home, work or school, in transit, others) with a newly developed spatiotemporal map-matching algorithm. The tracking performance of the mobile phones was compared with that of the GPS trackers using chi-square test and Kruskal-Wallis rank sum test. The minute agreement across all microenvironments between the TAD and the algorithm was compared using the Gwet agreement coefficient (AC1). Results: The mobile phone acquired locations for 905 (29.2%) more trips reported in travel diaries than the GPS tracker (P<.001) and had a median accuracy of 25 m. Subjects spent on average 57.9%, 19.9%, 9.0%, and 13.2% of time at home, work, in transit, and other places, respectively, according to the TAD and 57.5%, 18.8%, 11.6%, and 12.1%, respectively, according to the map-matching algorithm. The overall minute agreement between both methods was high (AC1 .811, 95% CI .810-.812). Conclusions: The use of mobile phones running the CalFit app provides better information on which microenvironments people spend their time in than previous approaches based only on GPS trackers. The improvements of mobile phone technology in microenvironment determination are because the mobile phones are faster at identifying first locations and capable of getting location in challenging environments thanks to the combination of assisted-GPS technology and network positioning systems. Moreover, collecting location information from mobile phones, which are already carried by individuals, allows monitoring more people with a cheaper and less burdensome method than deploying GPS trackers.
Issue Date: 10-Nov-2016
Date of Acceptance: 28-Aug-2016
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/56384
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.2196/mhealth.5771
ISSN: 2291-5222
Publisher: JMIR Publications
Journal / Book Title: JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Volume: 4
Issue: 4
Copyright Statement: ©David Donaire-Gonzalez, Antònia Valentín, Audrey de Nazelle, Albert Ambros, Glòria Carrasco-Turigas, Edmund Seto, Michael Jerrett, Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen. Originally published in JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth (http://mhealth.jmir.org), 10.11.2016. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR mhealth and uhealth, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://mhealth.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Health Care Sciences & Services
Medical Informatics
smartphone
cell phones
mobile applications
monitoring
ambulatory
spatio-temporal analysis
automatic data processing
travel
environmental exposure
AIR-POLLUTION EXPOSURE
GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEMS
BLACK CARBON
PHYSICAL-ACTIVITY
TIME-LOCATION
ASSISTED GPS
TRACKING
HEALTH
IMPACT
TRANSPORT
monitoring, ambulatory
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: e126
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences



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