Researchers at the London School of Economics have launched a new iPhone app, which aims to determine the happiness of UK users in relation to their immediate environment.

"We beep you once a day to ask how you're feeling, and a few basic things to control for: who you're with, where you are, what you're doing (if you're outdoors, you can also take a photo)," the LSE researchers behind the Mappiness explain.

"The data gets sent back - anonymously and securely - to our data store, along with your approximate location from the iPhone's GPS, and a noise-level measure."

Information about your own happiness, including when, where and with whom you're happiest is charted inside the Mappiness app.

The researchers are particularly interested in how people's happiness is affected by their local environment including air pollution, noise, green spaces and more. The  plan is to have results published in academic journals and elsewhere.

Lead researcher George MacKerron, of the LSE's Department of Geography & Environment told The Telegraph: "By tracking across space as well as time, and by making novel use of a technology that millions of people already carry with them, we hope to find better answers to questions about the impacts of natural beauty, environmental problems - maybe even aspects of climate - on individual and national wellbeing."

mappiness for iPhone

Professor Lord Richard Layard, Director of the Well-being Programme at LSE's Centre for Economic Performance, added: "Mappiness is a revolutionary research idea. It is the best method so far devised for understanding how people's emotions are affected by the buildings and natural environment in which they move".
 
Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, Mappiness is free and requires the iPhone 3.0 Software Update or later.

The developers note if you're outside the UK, you can see the note about timezones on the front page of the website  www.mappiness.org.uk before signing up.