The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLI-B2
08 Jun 2016
 | 08 Jun 2016


W. Huang, S. Li, and S. Xu

Keywords: Human Activity Pattern, Clustering, Twitter, Spatial, Temporal, Semantics

Abstract. How people move in cities and what they do in various locations at different times form human activity patterns. Human activity pattern plays a key role in in urban planning, traffic forecasting, public health and safety, emergency response, friend recommendation, and so on. Therefore, scholars from different fields, such as social science, geography, transportation, physics and computer science, have made great efforts in modelling and analysing human activity patterns or human mobility patterns. One of the essential tasks in such studies is to find the locations or places where individuals stay to perform some kind of activities before further activity pattern analysis.

In the era of Big Data, the emerging of social media along with wearable devices enables human activity data to be collected more easily and efficiently. Furthermore, the dimension of the accessible human activity data has been extended from two to three (space or space-time) to four dimensions (space, time and semantics). More specifically, not only a location and time that people stay and spend are collected, but also what people “say” for in a location at a time can be obtained. The characteristics of these datasets shed new light on the analysis of human mobility, where some of new methodologies should be accordingly developed to handle them.

Traditional methods such as neural networks, statistics and clustering have been applied to study human activity patterns using geosocial media data. Among them, clustering methods have been widely used to analyse spatiotemporal patterns. However, to our best knowledge, few of clustering algorithms are specifically developed for handling the datasets that contain spatial, temporal and semantic aspects all together. In this work, we propose a three-step human activity clustering method based on space, time and semantics to fill this gap. One-year Twitter data, posted in Toronto, Canada, is used to test the clustering-based method. The results show that the approximate 55% spatiotemporal clusters distributed in different locations can be eventually grouped as the same type of clusters with consideration of semantic aspect.