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Department of Geography

Tumasch Reichenbacher, Meysam Aliakbariana, Arko Ghosh and Sara I. Fabrikant

While map apps on smartphones are abundant, their everyday usage is still an open empirical research question. With tappigraphy – the quantification of smartphone touchscreen interactions – we aimed to capture continuous data stream of behavioural human-map app usage patterns. The current study introduces a first tappigraphy analysis of the distribution of touchscreen interactions on map apps in 211 remotely observed smartphone users, accumulating a total of 42 days of tap data. We detail the requirements, setup, and data collection to understand how much, when, for how long, and how people use mobile map apps in their daily lives. Supporting prior research, we find that on average map apps are only sparsely used, compared to other apps. The longitudinal fluctuations in map use are not random and are partly governed by general daily and weekly human behaviour cycles. Smartphone session duration including map app use can be clearly distinguished from sessions without any map apps used, indicating a distinct temporal behavioural footprint surrounding map use. With the transfer of the tappigraphy approach to a mobile map app use context, we see a promising avenue to provide research communities interested in the underlying behavioural mechanisms of map use a continuous, in-situ momentary assessment method.