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How do I participate in the research?

Just install the application on your phone, open it, and respond to the consent and registration questions. After that, make sure your phone's GPS and/or network location receiver is enabled and go about your normal activities. The application will run in the background and it will send your location information to the research server at regular intervals.

Will I receive compensation for my participation?

No, but you will be able to store and map your own locations and you will be contributing to science. In addition, once you have participated for one week and shared at least 1,000 location estimates, you will receive a free upgrade to Space Mapper Pro.

Can I withdraw from the study and uninstall the application if I don't like it?

Yes. Your participation is entirely voluntary and you may end it whenever you wish. To stop participating, simply switch the application off from the application's Preferences menu or uninstall it using your phone's Settings menu. If you would like to delete all of your data from the research server, use the withdraw button from the application's Help menu.

What information will I be sharing with others and how will my identity be protected?

The application transmits the following information to the research server: (1) the date and time of your consent, (2) any answers you provide to the initial registration survey, (3) any answers you provide to the follow-up survey, and (4) regular location updates consisting of latitude, longitude, altitude, accuracy, location provider (i.e. GPS or network), cell tower ID, NMEA data, battery status, and time. This is the only information that is collected, it is encrypted on your phone before being sent to the server, and it is decrypted and analyzed by the research team only after being taken off the server. Your information will be used only for the purpose of studying population level questions about mobility and segregation and it will not be shared with anyone outside the research team except to the extent that it has first been aggregated and/or transformed in such a way as to make it impossible for you to be identified.

Are there any restrictions on who may participate?

Yes -- you must be at least 18 years old to participate. In addition, the application will work only on devices running Android.

Is it dangerous to use my phone while driving?

Yes -- please don't! The use of mobile phones while driving can create an increased risk of injury, death, or other harm and is prohibited in many states. We therefore ask that you please refrain from interacting with your phone while driving.

Why do you collect information about my battery?

To help us improve the application. The application is designed to be as minimally intrusive as possible, so if we see that it is placing a heavy load on your battery, we will do our best to fix this in future updates.

My phone's screen turns on at regular intervals. Is this caused by Space Mapper?

Yes. Due to a bug in the Android operating system, network locations cannot be measured when the phone's display is in sleep mode, so Space Mapper wakes it up briefly every time it needs to estimate your location. This is done as efficiently as possible to conserve battery power.

How can I use my own location information?

From the application's Preferences menu, set the "Storage Period" to the number of days worth of data you would like to store. Your locations will be stored on your phone during the period you select, and you will be able to map them and save them to your SD card from the My Data menu. Note that the information you choose to store on your phone for your own use is not encrypted.

What's the difference between the "Storage Period" and the "Start" and "End" dates?

In the Preferences menu, you can set "Storage Period," "Start Date," and "End Date." "Storage Period" controls the data actually stored on your phone (for your own use), and locations estimated outside of the storage period will be discarded. "Start Date" and "End Date," on the other hand, control the data displayed on the map. You may want to set these close together in order to focus on a given set of locations and have finer control in cycling through locations with the map's range selector tool. Changing the "Start Date" and "End Date" will not cause data to be deleted from your phone, so you can always return to a wider ranger after selecting a narrower one.

When I map my data, some of the locations look wrong. Why is that?

The accuracy of your phone's location estimates depends on a number of factors, including access to GPS satellite signals and connection to wireless networks. The application is designed to balance accuracy against battery load, so it will sometimes use location estimates that have a large margin of error.

Why is the application not recording my location?

This could be because it is not turned on, because neither your GPS nor your network location receivers are enabled, or because your phone is simply unable to detect your location in a given place within the minimum accuracy required by the application.

Why is the application not uploading my locations to the server?

This could be because your phone does not have an internet connection. Once you are sure the phone is connected to the internet, try cliking upload icon in the "Pending Uploads" section of the Preferences menu.

How will I know when I have received my upgrade to Space Mapper Pro?

There will be a notification in the app. Once you have been upgraded, you will be able to use the app without sharing data with the research team by setting "Volunteer?" to "no" in the Prefences menu.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

John Palmer is the principal investigator for this project and a Ph.D. student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School and Office of Population Research. For any questions about this project, please contact him at activity.space.project@gmail.com.

Creative Commons License
This page, by John R.B. Palmer, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The images in the top right are derived from photos by Jim Henderson (Brooklyn Bridge), David Iliff (Los Angeles), and Josep Renalias (Barcelona - Plaça Reial)