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Velocity-Based Terrain Coefficients for Time-Based Models of Human MovementOpen Data

Michelle de Gruchy1*, Edward Caswell2 and James Edwards3

Open referee response and reply

*Corresponding author Department of Archaeology, Durham University, South Road, Durham, UK DH1 3LE / Institute for Archaeological Science, University of Tübingen, Rümelinstrasse 23, Tübingen, Germany 72070. Email: michelle.de-gruchy@dur.ac.uk
2. Department of Archaeology, Durham University, South Road, Durham, UK DH1 3LE
3. Department of Mathematical Sciences, Durham University, South Road, Durham, UK DH1 3LE / Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY
Referee: Irmela Herzog. The Rhineland Commission for Archaeological Monuments and Sites, Bonn, Germany Email: i.herzog@lvr.de

Cite this as: de Gruchy, M., Caswell, E and Edwards, J. 2017 Velocity-Based Terrain Coefficients for Time-Based Models of Human Movement, Internet Archaeology 45. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.45.4

Summary

Few studies have calculated the relative difficulty of walking across different types of terrain (e.g. grass, asphalt, loose sand, and so on). Nonetheless, these relative values, called terrain coefficients, are integral, alongside slope, for generating computer models of human movement, whether for emergency planning, development, archaeology, the impact of ecological change on migratory patterns or any other purposes. Additionally, the few studies conducted evaluate this relative difficulty through metabolic rate measured through oxygen consumption. We demonstrate that these values are only appropriate for energy-based models (e.g. easiest routes), because it is unlikely that the relationship between metabolic rate and velocity is linear even when terrain is held constant. Rather, our work (returning to four terrains from these earlier studies and adding three additional terrains) investigates the relative effect different terrains have on a person's walking speed, finding the effects to be smaller, with statistical significance occurring on an entirely different scale from previous studies. Therefore, these terrain coefficients should only be used for time-based models (e.g. fastest routes).

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