Exploring Map App Usage Behaviour Through Touchscreen Interactions (Short Paper)

Authors Donatella Zingaro , Mona Bartling , Tumasch Reichenbacher

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Author Details

Donatella Zingaro
  • Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Mona Bartling
  • Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Tumasch Reichenbacher
  • Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland

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Donatella Zingaro, Mona Bartling, and Tumasch Reichenbacher. Exploring Map App Usage Behaviour Through Touchscreen Interactions (Short Paper). In 12th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 277, pp. 95:1-95:6, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


Mobile map apps are rapidly changing the way we live by providing a broad range of services such as mapping, travel support, public transport, and trip-booking. Despite their widespread use, understanding how people use these apps in their everyday lives is still a challenge. In order to design context-aware mobile map apps, it is important to understand mobile map app usage behaviour. In this study, we employed a novel approach of recording touchscreen interactions (taps) on mobile map apps and combined them with users' distances from their homes to capture everyday map app usage. We analysed data from 30 participants recorded between February 2021 and March 2022 and applied two different data-driven analysis techniques to evaluate map apps usage. Our results reveal two distinct tapping signatures: a "home behaviour", characterised by high interactions with map-related apps close to home, and a "travel behaviour", defined by lower interactions scattered over a range of distances. Our findings have important implications for future work in this field and demonstrate the potential of our new approach for understanding mobile map app usage behaviour.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Human-centered computing
  • mobile maps
  • tappigraphy
  • cluster analysis
  • archetypal analysis
  • user-context
  • map-app usage


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  1. Myriam Balerna and Arko Ghosh. The details of past actions on a smartphone touchscreen are reflected by intrinsic sensorimotor dynamics. npj Digital Medicine, 1:4, 2018. URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41746-017-0011-3.
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