Online versus in-person comparison of Microscale Audit of Pedestrian Streetscapes (MAPS) assessments: Reliability of alternate methods

Christine B. Phillips, Jessa K. Engelberg, Carrie M. Geremia, Wenfei Zhu, Jonathan M. Kurka, Kelli L. Cain, James F. Sallis, Terry L. Conway, Marc Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: An online version of the Microscale Audit of Pedestrian Streetscapes (Abbreviated) tool was adapted to virtually audit built environment features supportive of physical activity. The current study assessed inter-rater reliability of MAPS Online between in-person raters and online raters unfamiliar with the regions. Methods: In-person and online audits were conducted for a total of 120 quarter-mile routes (60 per site) in Phoenix, AZ and San Diego, CA. Routes in each city included 40 residential origins stratified by walkability and SES, and 20 commercial centers. In-person audits were conducted by raters residing in their region. Online audits were conducted by raters in the alternate location using Google Maps (Aerial and Street View) images. The MAPS Abbreviated Online tool consisted of four sections: overall route, street segments, crossings and cul-de-sacs. Items within each section were grouped into subscales, and inter-rater reliability (ICCs) was assessed for subscales at multiple levels of aggregation. Results: Online and in-person audits showed excellent agreement for overall positive microscale (ICC = 0.86, 95% CI [0.80, 0.90]) and grand scores (ICC = 0.93, 95% CI [0.89, 0.95]). Substantial to near-perfect agreement was found for 21 of 30 (70%) subscales, valence, and subsection scores, with ICCs ranging from 0.62, 95% CI [0.50, 0.72] to 0.95, 95% CI [0.93, 0.97]. Lowest agreement was found for the aesthetics and social characteristics scores, with ICCs ranging from 0.07, 95% CI [-0.12, 0.24] to 0.27, 95% CI [0.10, 0.43]. Conclusions: Results support use of the MAPS Abbreviated Online tool to reliably assess microscale neighborhood features that support physical activity and may be used by raters residing in different geographic regions and unfamiliar with the audit areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
JournalInternational journal of health geographics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 4 2017


  • Built environment
  • Direct observation
  • Measurement
  • Physical activity
  • Virtual observation
  • Walkability
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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