Matching study areas using Google Street View: A new application for an emerging technology

Elyse Levine Less, Patricia McKee, Traci Toomey, Toben Nelson, Darin Erickson, Serena Xiong, Rhonda Jones-Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Google Street View (GSV) can be used as an effective tool to conduct virtual neighborhood audits. We expand on this research by exploring the utility of a GSV-based neighborhood audit to measure and match target and comparison study areas. We developed a GSV-based inventory to measure characteristics of retail alcohol stores and their surrounding neighborhoods. We assessed its reliability and assessed the utility of GSV-based audits for matching target and comparison study areas. We found that GSV-based neighborhood audits can be a useful, reliable, and cost-effective tool for matching target and comparison study areas when archival data are insufficient and primary data collection is prohibitive. We suggest that researchers focus on characteristics that are easily visible on GSV and are relatively stable over time when creating future GSV-based measuring and matching tools. Dividing the study area into small segments may also provide more accurate measurements and more precise matching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Volume53
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) NIAAA grant #R01AA020496 .

Keywords

  • Alcohol-related crime
  • Audit tools
  • Ecological settings
  • Google Street View
  • Matching

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