Assessing the Built Environment using GPS, Physical Activity Monitors and Geospatial Surveys

  • Seeger, C. J., Welk, G. J. and Erickson, S


Understanding what aspects of the built environment contribute to health concerns such as obesity is not an easy task, due to the scale of the built environment and inconsistencies in community design, climate and culture. It is therefore necessary to look at the detailed layers of the built environment to better understand what components may have the largest impact. This can be a daunting task. Through the use of participatory research methods, geospatial tools and physical activity recording devices, it is possible to create models of how people interact with their environment. This paper discusses how geospatial technologies along with physical activity monitors have been used to determine if the urban forest, a component of the built environment, influences an individual’s decision to use a particular walking/running route in Ames, Iowa, USA.