Mappiness: A mobile data collection example

This example of mobile data collection uses an iPhone app to collect data about how the environment affects the moods of participants. Mappiness has been designed to gather data from a wide range longitudinal data from participants remotely. To do this, they've created the app to be easy to use, with simple survey questions using sliding scale and integrating the smart phone's features by giving participants the option to collect additional data by taking photos of their environments. In order to induce participants to take part, they have included in the app a 'happiness tracker' that collates the individuals results into a single graph that participants can view over time.


"How does it work?

  • You get mappiness from the App Store, open it, and sign up
  • We beep you once (or more) a day to ask how you're feeling, and a few basic things to control for: who you're with, where you are, what you're doing (if you're outdoors, you can also take a photo)
  • The data gets sent back — anonymously and securely — to our data store, along with your approximate location from the iPhone's GPS, and a noise-level measure

What's in it for you?

  • Interesting information about your own happiness, which you can download or see charted inside the app — including when, where and with whom you're happiest
  • The warm glow of helping increase the sum of human knowledge

What's in it for us?

We're particularly interested in how people's happiness is affected by their local environment — air pollution, noise, green spaces, and so on — which the data from mappiness will be absolutely great for investigating
We'll be publishing the results in academic journals and elsewhere — starting with this paper in Global Environmental Change."


MacKerronand, G. Mourato, S. and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (n.d.). Mappiness (LSE). [Website]. Retrieved from:

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