Map-based assessment of older adult’s life-space (MapSpace)


Recent advancements in map-based technologies have paved the way for their application in health research, particularly in studying the mobility of older adults. This project focused on developing a map-based life-space assessment (MBA) tool and assessing its reliability and validity, comparing it with GPS measurements.


The MapSpace study involved tracking the life-space of older adults over a week using both GPS and the MBA tool. The MBA assessment was conducted twice, with the second assessment occurring approximately three weeks after the first. We analyzed life-space metrics in terms of both distance from home (average and maximum) and area covered (using metrics like convex hull and standard deviational ellipse). The study employed intraclass correlation calculations to compare MBA and GPS, and also performed Bland-Altman analyses for the same comparison.


Fifty-eight older adults (average age 74, standard deviation 5.5 years; 39.7% female) participated. The analysis revealed the closest agreement between MBA and GPS methods in measuring the maximum distance from home. Intraclass correlation values varied, with the lowest being 0.19 (95% confidence interval from 0 to 0.47) for the convex hull measurement, and the highest at 0.72 (95% confidence interval from 0.52 to 0.84) for maximum distance from home. Regarding the test-retest reliability of MBA, the intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.04 (95% confidence interval from 0 to 0.30) for convex hull to 0.43 (95% confidence interval from 0.19 to 0.62) for average distance from home.


We concluded that while MBA shows reasonable validity and reliability for measuring distance-related life-space parameters, it is less effective for assessing area-related life-space parameters. Therefore, MBA is not recommended for the analysis of area-related mobility aspects in older adults.



Project lead

PD Dr. Timo Hinrichs (Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel)

Prof. Dr. Robert Weibel (Department of Geography, Geographic Information Systems Unit, University of Zurich)

Project partners

Prof. Dr. Pia Bereuter (Institute of Geomatics Engineering, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Northwestern Switzerland, Muttenz)

Prof. Dr. Erja Portegijs (Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

Prof. Dr. Taina Rantanen (Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences & Gerontology Research Center, University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

Prof. Dr. Andreas Zeller (Center for Primary Health Care, University of Basel)

Prof. Dr. Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss (Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel)


Hinrichs T, Zanda A, Fillekes MP, Bereuter P, Portegijs E, Rantanen T, Schmidt-Trucksass A, Zeller AW, Weibel R: Map-based assessment of older adults’ life space: validity and reliability. Eur Rev Aging Phys Act 2020, 17(1):21.