Merging diaries and GPS records: The method of data collection for spatio-temporal research

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The results of a ‘proof-of-concept’ study that examined a new opportunity for using GPS technology in activity surveys are presented in this article. The aim is to demonstrate the method of collection and processing of individual time-space data via the dual records of a time-space diary and the GPS locator. The GPS technology here is not treated as a substitute for the traditional method of diaries; rather, the paper concentrates on the potential existing in a combination of these two techniques. The time-geographical approach and the corresponding methodology are used in order to assess the complexities of an individual’s everyday life, and to capture the spectrum of human activities in a data frame applicable to different analyses in behavioural, social and transportation research. This method not only improves the quality and robustness of spatio-temporal data, but also reduces under-reporting and the burdens on the respondents.

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