Use of Portable Global Positioning System (GPS) Devices in Exposure Analysis for Time-location Measurement

  • Lee, Ki-Young (Graduate School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University) ;
  • Kim, Joung-Yoon (Graduate School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University) ;
  • Putti, Kiran (College of Public Health, University of Kentucky) ;
  • Bennett, Deborah H. (Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California) ;
  • Cassady, Diana (Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California) ;
  • Hertz-Picciotto, Irva (Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California)
  • Received : 2009.10.11
  • Accepted : 2009.11.29
  • Published : 2009.12.31


Exposure analysis is a critical component of determining the health impact of pollutants. Global positioning systems (GPS) could be useful in developing time-location information for use in exposure analysis. This study compares four low cost GPS receivers with data logging capability (Garmin 60, Garmin Forerunner 201, GeoStats GeoLogger and Skytrx minitracker MT4100) in terms of accuracy, precision, and ease of use. The accuracy of the devices was determined at two known National Geodetic Survey points. The coordinates logged by the devices were compared when the devices were carried while walking and driving. The Garmin 60 showed better accuracy and precision than the GeoLogger when they were placed at the geodetic points. The Forerunner and Skytrx did not record when they were kept stationary. When the subject wore the devices while walking, the location of the devices differed by about 8 m on average between any two device combinations involving the four devices. The distance between the coordinates logged by the devices decreased when the devices were carried with their antennas facing the sky. All the devices showed similar routes when they were used in a car. All the devices except the Forerunner had satisfactory signal reception when they were worn and when they were carried in the car. The GeoLogger is less comfortable for the subject because of specific wearing requirements. This evaluation found that the Garmin 60 and the Skytrx may be useful in personal exposure analysis studies to record time-location data.


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