Alcohol in urban streetscapes: a comparison of the use of Google Street View and on-street observation

Chris Clews, Roza Brajkovich-Payne, Emily Dwight, Ayob Ahmad Fauzul, Madeleine Burton, Olivia Carleton, Julie Cook, Charlotte Deroles, Ruby Faulkner, Mary Furniss, Anahera Herewini, Daymen Huband (+7 others)
2016 BMC Public Health  
Alcohol-related harm is a major global health issue, and controls on alcohol marketing are one intervention utilized by governments. This study investigated the use of Google Street View (GSV) as a novel research method for collecting alcohol-related data in the urban environment. Methods: The efficacy of GSV and on-street observation by observer teams was compared by surveying 400 m stretches of 12 streets in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. Data on alcohol sale, alcohol-related
more » ... ertising, health promotion materials, regulatory information and visible alcohol consumption were collected. Results: A total of 403 retailers with evidence of alcohol sales and 1161 items of alcohol-related communication were identified in on-street observation. Of the latter, 1028 items (89 %) were for alcohol marketing and 133 (11 %) were for alcohol-related health promotion and alcohol regulation. GSV was found to be a less sensitive tool than on-street observation with only 50 % of the alcohol venues identified and 52 % of the venue-associated brand marketing identified. A high degree of inter-observer reliability was generally found between pairs of observers e.g., for the detection of alcohol retail venues the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) was 0.93 (95 % CI: 0.78 to 0.98) for on-street observation and 0.85 (95 % CI: 0.49 to 0.96) for using GSV. Conclusions: GSV does not seem suitable for the comprehensive study of the influences on alcohol consumption in the urban streetscape. However, it may still have value for large, static objects in the environment and be more time efficient than traditional on-street observation measures, especially when used to collect data across a wide geographical area. Furthermore, GSV might become a more useful research tool in settings with better image quality (such as more 'footpath views') and with more regularly updated GSV imagery.
doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3115-9 pmid:27230281 pmcid:PMC4880812 fatcat:twjsjz3tljem5aykfckbeebgie