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Discovering Spatial Patterns in Origin‐Destination Mobility Data

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Mobility and spatial interaction data have become increasingly available due to the wide adoption of location‐aware technologies. Examples of mobility data include human daily activities, vehicle trajectories, and animal movements, among others. In this article we focus on a special type of mobility data, i.e. origin‐destination pairs, and present a new approach to the discovery and understanding of spatio‐temporal patterns in the movements. Specifically, to extract information from complex connections among a large number of point locations, the approach involves two steps: (1) spatial clustering of massive GPS points to recognize potentially meaningful places; and (2) extraction and mapping of the flow measures of clusters to understand the spatial distribution and temporal trends of movements. We present a case study with a large dataset of taxi trajectories in Shenzhen, China to demonstrate and evaluate the methodology. The contribution of the research is two‐fold. First, it presents a new methodology for detecting location patterns and spatial structures embedded in origin‐destination movements. Second, the approach is scalable to large data sets and can summarize massive data to facilitate pattern extraction and understanding.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of South Carolina 2: Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, and School of Hydropower and Information Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology 3: Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Publication date: June 1, 2012


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