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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997 May;51(5):338-9.

Could a satellite-based navigation system (GPS) be used to assess the physical activity of individuals on earth?

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Institute of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.



To test whether the Global Positioning System (GPS) could be potentially useful to assess the velocity of walking and running in humans.


A young man was equipped with a GPS receptor while walking running and cycling at various velocity on an athletic track. The speed of displacement assessed by GPS, was compared to that directly measured by chronometry (76 tests).


In walking and running conditions (from 2-20 km/h) as well as cycling conditions (from 20-40 km/h), there was a significant relationship between the speed assessed by GPS and that actually measured (r = 0.99, P < 0.0001) with little bias in the prediction of velocity. The overall error of prediction (s.d. of difference) averaged +/-0.8 km/h.


The GPS technique appears very promising for speed assessment although the relative accuracy at walking speed is still insufficient for research purposes. It may be improved by using differential GPS measurement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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