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Title
A visual analytics approach for extracting spatio-temporal urban mobility information from mobile network traffic
AuthorSagl, Günther ; Loidl, Martin ; Beinat, Euro
Published in
ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, Basel, 2012, Vol. 1, Issue 3, page 256-271
PublishedMDPI, 2012
LanguageEnglish
Document typeJournal Article
Keywords (EN)visual analytics / urban dynamics / urban mobility / social sensing / big data / collective human behavior / spatio-temporal patterns / geographic information science
ISSN2220-9964
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubs:3-5237 Persistent Identifier (URN)
DOI10.3390/ijgi1030256 
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 The work is publicly available
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A visual analytics approach for extracting spatio-temporal urban mobility information from mobile network traffic [3.58 mb]
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Abstract (English)

In this paper we present a visual analytics approach for deriving spatio-temporal patterns of collective human mobility from a vast mobile network traffic data set. More than 88 million movements between pairs of radio cellsso-called handoversserved as a proxy for more than two months of mobility within four urban test areas in Northern Italy. In contrast to previous work, our approach relies entirely on visualization and mapping techniques, implemented in several software applications. We purposefully avoid statistical or probabilistic modeling and, nonetheless, reveal characteristic and exceptional mobility patterns. The results show, for example, surprising similarities and symmetries amongst the total mobility and people flows between the test areas. Moreover, the exceptional patterns detected can be associated to real-world events such as soccer matches. We conclude that the visual analytics approach presented can shed new light on large-scale collective urban mobility behavior and thus helps to better understand the “pulse” of dynamic urban systems.

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