Measuring similarity of mobile phone user trajectories– a Spatio-temporal Edit Distance method

Yihong Yuan, Martin Raubal
2013 International Journal of Geographical Information Science  
The rapid development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has provided rich data sources for analyzing, modeling, and interpreting human mobility patterns. This paper contributes to this research area by developing the Spatio-temporal Edit Distance measure, an extended algorithm to determine the similarity between user trajectories based on call detailed records (CDRs). We improve the traditional Edit Distance algorithm by incorporating both spatial and temporal information
more » ... the cost functions. The extended algorithm can preserve both space and time information from string-formatted CDR data. The novel method is applied to a large data set from Northeast China in order to test its effectiveness. Three types of analyses are presented for scenarios with and without the effect of time: (1) Edit Distance with spatial information; (2) Edit Distance with time as a factor in the cost function; and (3) Edit Distance with time as a constraint in partitioning trajectories. The outcomes of this research contribute to both methodological and empirical perspectives. The extended algorithm performs well for measuring low-resolution tracking information in CDRs, as well as facilitating the interpretation of user mobility patterns in the age of instant access.
doi:10.1080/13658816.2013.854369 fatcat:mfunti2b7baafpiixgvay5vrpe