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Google Street View, public health, obesity, survey


Researchers in many disciplines have turned to Google Street View to replace pedestrian- or carbased in-person observation of streetscapes. It is most prevalent within the research literature on the relationship between neighborhood environments and public health but has been used as diverse as disaster recovery, ecology and wildlife habitat, and urban design. Evaluations of the tool have found that the results of GSV-based observation are similar to the results from in-person observation although the similarity depends on the type of characteristic being observed. Larger, permanent and discrete features showed more consistency between the two methods and smaller, transient and judgmental features were less consistent. There are some difficulties in using GSV for research purposes including, 1) the fixed point of view, 2) the processing, 3) the quality, and 4) the fixed point in time of the images. These issues have had little discussion by researchers using GSV but could bias their results in some circumstances and therefore should be addressed by researchers using GSV.

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