Examining the spatial congruence between data obtained with a novel activity location questionnaire, continuous GPS tracking, and prompted recall surveys

Int J Health Geogr. 2013 Sep 11;12:40. doi: 10.1186/1476-072X-12-40.


Background: Place and health researchers are increasingly interested in integrating individuals' mobility and the experience they have with multiple settings in their studies. In practice, however, few tools exist which allow for rapid and accurate gathering of detailed information on the geographic location of places where people regularly undertake activities. We describe the development and validation of a new activity location questionnaire which can be useful in accounting for multiple environmental influences in large population health investigations.

Methods: To develop the questionnaire, we relied on a literature review of similar data collection tools and on results of a pilot study wherein we explored content validity, test-retest reliability, and face validity. To estimate convergent validity, we used data from a study of users of a public bicycle share program conducted in Montreal, Canada in 2011. We examined the spatial congruence between questionnaire data and data from three other sources: 1) one-week GPS tracks; 2) activity locations extracted from the GPS tracks; and 3) a prompted recall survey of locations visited during the day. Proximity and convex hull measures were used to compare questionnaire-derived data and GPS and prompted recall survey data.

Results: In the sample, 75% of questionnaire-reported activity locations were located within 400 meters of an activity location recorded on the GPS track or through the prompted recall survey. Results from convex hull analyses suggested questionnaire activity locations were more concentrated in space than GPS or prompted-recall locations.

Conclusions: The new questionnaire has high convergent validity and can be used to accurately collect data on regular activity spaces in terms of locations regularly visited. The methods, measures, and findings presented provide new material to further study mobility in place and health research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Phone*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Female
  • Geographic Information Systems*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Statistics as Topic / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*