, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 25–36 | Cite as

Compliance and data quality in GPS-based studies

  • Michal IsaacsonEmail author
  • Noam Shoval
  • Hans-Werner Wahl
  • Frank Oswald
  • Gail Auslander


Recent years have witnessed a growing volume of papers describing the use of GPS technology and other tracking technologies for obtaining data on time–space activities. These methods have several advantages over traditional methods of time–space data collection in terms of accuracy, resolution and length of the possible data collection period. However, to date, no work has been done on the compliance rates among participants and the resulting validity of the collected data. This paper presents a method that combines the use of a GPS receiver with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that was implemented in research on time–space activities of elderly persons with cognitive impairment. The method presented in this paper enables monitoring the level of compliance of the participants during their participation in the study and presents a unique opportunity to examine the extent to which participants in a GPS based study are able to comply with study requirements. Healthy older adults and those with cognitive decline were found to be generally compliant with a complex study protocol. These results serve as another step into the acceptance of GPS based studies as a valid methodology for mobility data collection.


Compliance Time–space activities Global positioning system Data validity 



Support for this project provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of German-Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP) is gratefully acknowledged. Three reviewers provided valuable input on an earlier version of the paper. However, the authors are solely responsible for any errors and mistakes.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michal Isaacson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Noam Shoval
    • 2
  • Hans-Werner Wahl
    • 3
  • Frank Oswald
    • 4
  • Gail Auslander
    • 5
  1. 1.New England University Transportation Center, AgeLabMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Psychological Ageing Research, Institute of PsychologyUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  4. 4.Interdisciplinary Ageing Research Group, Faculty of Educational SciencesGoethe UniversityFrankfurt am MainGermany
  5. 5.Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social WelfareThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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