Generating and Analyzing Wearable Physiological Sensor Data for Assessing Urban Spaces


Thursday, September 1, 2022, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


CGIS Knafel K252 (Shklar Room)


Dr. Bernd Resch, University of Salzburg


Human-centred approaches are of particular importance when analysing urban spaces in technology-driven fields, because understanding how people perceive and react to their environments depends on several dynamic and static factors, such as traffic volume, noise, safety, urban configuration, and greenness. Analysing and interpreting emotions against the background of environmental information can provide insights into the spatial and temporal properties of urban spaces and their influence on citizens. In this talk, I present a comprehensive mixed-methods approach to geospatial analysis that utilises wearable sensor technology for emotion detection and combines information from sources that correct or complement each other. This includes objective data from wearable physiological sensors combined with an eDiary app, first-person perspective videos from a chest-mounted camera, and georeferenced interviews, and post-hoc surveys. Across two studies, we identified and geolocated moments of stress and relaxation for cyclists and pedestrians. Furthermore, I will discuss a new approach for generating measurement time series using Generative Adverserial Networks (GANs), aiming to create large training datasets for machine learning algorithms, and to mitigate privacy and data protection issues. Despite open methodological questions, I conclude that analysing and mapping wearable sensor data, complemented with other sources of information offers great potential for gaining useful insights into urban spaces and their impact on citizens.At left, four headshot photos; at right time series line graphs

Speaker bio

Bernd Resch is an Associate Professor at University of Salzburg's Department of Geoinformatics - Z_GIS and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University (USA). He heads the Geo-social Analytics Lab and the iDEAS:lab. Bernd Resch did his PhD in the area of “Live Geography” (real-time monitoring of environmental geo-processes) together with University of Salzburg and MIT. His research interest revolves around understanding cities as complex systems through analysing a variety of digital data sources, focusing on developing machine learning algorithms to analyse human-generated data like social media posts and physiological measurements from wearable sensors. The findings are relevant to a number of fields including urban research, disaster management, epidemiology, and others. Bernd received the Theodor Körner Award for his work on "Urban Emotions". Amongst a variety of other functions, he is an Editorial Board Member of IJHG, IJGI and PLOS ONE, a scientific committee member of various international conferences (having chaired several conferences), speaker of the Faculty of Digital and Analytical Sciences at PLUS, and an Executive Board member of Spatial Services GmbH.

Lunch will be served.

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