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      Using Google Street View to audit the built environment: inter-rater reliability results.

      Annals of Behavioral Medicine
      Environment Design, Humans, Indiana, Internet, Maps as Topic, Missouri, Observer Variation, Public Health, methods, Reproducibility of Results, Research Design, Residence Characteristics, statistics & numerical data

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          Observational field audits are recommended for public health research to collect data on built environment characteristics. A reliable, standardized alternative to field audits that uses publicly available information could provide the ability to efficiently compare results across different study sites and time. This study aimed to assess inter-rater reliability of built environment audits conducted using Google Street View imagery. In 2011, street segments from St. Louis and Indianapolis were geographically stratified to ensure representation of neighborhoods with different land use and socioeconomic characteristics in both cities. Inter-rater reliability was assessed using observed agreement and the prevalence-adjusted bias-adjusted kappa statistic (PABAK). The mean PABAK for all items was 0.84. Ninety-five percent of the items had substantial (PABAK ≥ 0.60) or nearly perfect (PABAK ≥ 0.80) agreement. Using Google Street View imagery to audit the built environment is a reliable method for assessing characteristics of the built environment.

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