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Human Mobility Characterization from Cellular Network Data

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An improved understanding of human mobility patterns can help answer key questions in fields as varied as mobile computing, urban planning, ecology, and epidemiology. Cellular telephone networks can shed light on human movements cheaply, frequently, and on a large scale. We have developed techniques for analyzing anonymous cellphone locations to explore how large populations move in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and New York. Our results include measures of how far people travel each day, estimates of carbon footprints due to home-to-work commutes, maps of the residential areas that contribute workers to a city, and relative volumes of traffic on commuting routes. We have validated our approach through comparisons against ground truth from volunteers and against independent sources such as the US Census Bureau. Throughout our work, we have taken measures to preserve individual privacy. This talk presents an overview of our methodologies and findings.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Digital Technology Group (DTG) Meetings series.

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