J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2014 Jul;24(4):412-20. doi: 10.1038/jes.2014.13. Epub 2014 Mar 12.
A critical aspect of air pollution exposure assessment is the estimation of the time spent by individuals in various microenvironments (ME). Accounting for the time spent in different ME with different pollutant concentrations can reduce exposure misclassifications, while failure to do so can add uncertainty and bias to risk estimates. In this study, a classification model, called MicroTrac, was developed to estimate time of day and duration spent in eight ME (indoors and outdoors at home, work, school; inside vehicles; other locations) from global positioning system (GPS) data and geocoded building boundaries. Based on a panel study, MicroTrac estimates were compared with 24-h diary data from nine participants, with corresponding GPS data and building boundaries of home, school, and work. MicroTrac correctly classified the ME for 99.5% of the daily time spent by the participants. The capability of MicroTrac could help to reduce the time-location uncertainty in air pollution exposure models and exposure metrics for individuals in health studies.