MapRecorder: analysing real-world usage of mobile map applications

GL Savino, M Sturdee, S Rundé, C Lohmeier, B Hecht, C Prandi, NJ Nunes, J Schöning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Millions of people use mobile map applications like Google Maps on a regular basis. However, despite these applications' ubiquity, the literature contains very little information about how these applications are used in the real world. As such, many researchers and practitioners seeking to improve mobile map applications may not be able to identify important challenges and may miss major opportunities for innovation. To address this paucity of usage information, we collected and analysed data during unsupervised usage of Google Maps by replacing the standard application with a wrapped version called MapRecorder. In two studies we recorded data from locals and tourists using our application and collected over 580 minutes of actual application usage from 34 users, spanning 555 unique sessions. We identify typical usage scenarios, observe a large amount of map exploration and elucidate generalisable interaction patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-662
Number of pages17
JournalBehaviour & Information Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2021


  • Mobile map usage
  • Actual use
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Navigation
  • User need analysis


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