MapRecorder: analysing real-world usage of mobile map applications

Gian Luca Savino*, Miriam Sturdee, Simon Rundé, Christine Lohmeier, Brent Hecht, Catia Prandi, Nuno Jardim Nunes, Johannes Schöning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)646-662
Number of pages17
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2021


  • Mobile map usage
  • actual use
  • human-computer interaction
  • navigation
  • user need analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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