Measuring well-being and happiness outdoors using a smartphone

Together with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving (PBL)) and Alterra (part of the Wageningen University Research Center), CentERdata developed the app HappyHier for smartphones. The study was set up to measure to what extent the quality of the environment contributes to the well-being of people. The study was inspired by the app Mappiness developed by MacKerron & Mourato in 2013.

HappyHier offers new possibilities to measure realtime and in a specific situation (e.g in certain surroundings). The app offers questionnaires in specific locations (e.g. outdoors), based on the location of the smartphone (and thus, its user). There are three main questions:

  1. How happy are you right now?
  2. What are you doing right now?
  3. Who is with you?

At the same time the type of surroundings in which the app user finds himself, is determined using location techniques with the use of that same smartphone.

The study was carried out between May 1 and July 21 2016 and focused on the differences between feelings of well-being outdoors (in predominantly natural surroundings) and the situation indoors (in more built-up areas).

As most people spend most of their time indoors, possibly too few data is collected for interesting natural areas. That is why the number of measurements outdoors is increased by implementing the concept of areal sampling quota in the mobile app. Meaning, the app checks, with the help of location services, if the respondent moves around and if outdoor areas are visited, before asking questions.


Related projects