Tracking the country's movements

Ipsos MORI conducts the travel survey fieldwork using MST 'MobiTest' devices.

Since its inception over 50,000 respondents have participated in the study.

Each participant is asked to fill in a questionnaire and to carry a Multi Sensor Tracking (MST) meter for fourteen days.  The meter is fitted with various devices which helps track respondent location. The devices locate respondents on a map via  the in-built 3D accelerometer. The device also measures the twists and turns that respondents make (via a magnetometer - or a compass to you and me). It can identify when respondents stop and start moving (through the gyroscope). Additionally the device tracks any changes in altitude (via a barometer) and measures the temperature of the device location (via a thermometer). Finally the device is also fitted with wifi capability. This all helps to return us highly granular data which are used to accurately position respondents, to identify their speed and direction of travel both while outdoors and indoors. All of this information is captured on a second-by-second basis, for the entire period which they carry the MST device.

The information is collated and plotted onto a framework map of Great Britain.

The study is continuous, with MST devices in the field throughout the entire year. The 'survey year' runs from September to August.

For more information on the devices, see

What the output looks like

Below you can see some examples of different respondent trackers. The first shows the movements of a farmer as they work their land...

As part of our commitment to further evolve our data we periodically conducted additional studies. One such occasion saw us place devices with taxis. Below you can see an example geo-trace showing a day in the life of a taxi in Edinburgh, Manchester and London.

We also provided one of our MST devices with the media journalist Dominic Mills for a column he was writing for Mediatel. You can read more about his experience and the data he received here.