Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Project Highlight: Studying Human Activities and the Environment

The College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Washington used the MyExperience tool to study the relationship between the built environment and human activities. They conducted a study using MyExperience, GPS, and a wearable sensing platform (the Intel MSP) to record the activities and locations of 53 subjects over one week. In particular, they explored:
  • what associations exist between different types of activities and different kinds of urban environments;
  • what characterizes the land use patterns where people spend long periods of time;
  • and do the properties of origins and destinations differ between short and long trips or trips made by different modes of transportation
In all, they gathered approximately 2,900 hours of data and ~2,900 surveys via the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) using MyExperience to provide self-report data about activities. MyExperience would prompt participants for a survey approximately every hour. These surveys asked questions about activity type, duration, purpose, and location.

GPS trace showing the path a person followed over several days annotated with self-report data from MyExperience. Stationary GPS points are shown in red, moving points are shown in green.

For more information on this research, see MobileSense - Sensing Modes of Transportation in Studies of the Built Environment by Jonathan Lester et al.

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