The Uncertain Geographic Context Problem in Identifying Activity Centers Using Mobile Phone Positioning Data and Point of Interest Data

  • Xingang Zhou
  • Jianzheng Liu
  • Anthony Gar On YehEmail author
  • Yang Yue
  • Weifeng Li
Part of the Advances in Geographic Information Science book series (AGIS)


People aggregate at different areas in different times of the day, thus forming different activity centers. The identification of activity centers faces the uncertain geographic context problem (UGCoP) because people go to different places to conduct different activities, and also go to the same place for carrying out different activities in different times of the day. In this paper, we employ two kinds of novel dynamic data, namely mobile phone positioning data and Point of Interest (POI) data to identify the activity centers in a city in China. Then mobile phone positioning data is utilized to identify the activity centers in different times of a working day, and POI data are used to show the activity density variations at these activity centers to explain the temporal dynamics of geographic context. We find that mobile phone positioning data and POI data as two kinds of spatial-temporal data demonstrate people’s activity patterns from different perspectives. Mobile phone positioning data provide a proxy to represent the activity density variations. POI data can be used to identify activity centers of different categories. These two kinds of data can be integrated to identify the activity centers and clarify the UGCoP.


Activity center UGCoP Mobile phone positioning data Point of interest 



This research was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (No. 41471378, 41231171, 41171348), and Shenzhen Scientific Research and Development Funding Program (JCYJ20121019111128765, JCYJ20130329144141856). Weifeng Li would like to thank the support from the Francis SK Lau Research Fund.  


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xingang Zhou
    • 1
  • Jianzheng Liu
    • 1
  • Anthony Gar On Yeh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yang Yue
    • 2
    • 3
  • Weifeng Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Urban Planning and DesignThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Department of Transportation Engineering, College of Civil EngineeringShenzhen UniversityShenzhenChina
  3. 3.Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Spatial Smart Sensing and ServicesShenzhen UniversityShenzhenChina

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