Section: New Results

Human Mobility completion of Sparse Call Detail Records

Participants : Guangshuo Chen, Aline Carneiro Viana, Marco Fiore [CNR - IEIIT (Italy)] , Carlos Sarraute [Grandata Labs] .

Mobile phone data are a popular source of positioning information in many recent studies that have largely improved our understanding of human mobility. These data consist of time-stamped and geo-referenced communication events recorded by network operators, on a per-subscriber basis. They allow for unprecedented tracking of populations of millions of individuals over long time periods that span months. Nevertheless, due to the uneven processes that govern mobile communications, the sampling of user locations provided by mobile phone data tends to be sparse and irregular in time, leading to substantial gaps in the resulting trajectory information. In this work, we illustrate the severity of the problem through an empirical study of a large-scale Call Detail Records (CDR) dataset. We then propose two novel and effective techniques to reduce temporal sparsity in CDR that outperform existing ones. the fist technique performs completion (1) at nightime by identifying temporal home boundary and (2) at daytime by inferring temporal boundaries of users, i.e., the time span of the cell position associated with each communication activity. The second technique, named Context-enhanced Trajectory Reconstruction, complete individual CDR-based trajectories that hinges on tensor factorization as a core method by leveraging regularity in human movement patterns. Our approach lets us revisit seminal works in the light of complete mobility data, unveiling potential biases that incomplete trajectories obtained from legacy CDR induce on key results about human mobility laws, trajectory uniqueness, and movement predictability.

These works have been published as invited papers at the ACM CHANTS 2016 workshop (in conjunction with ACM MobiCom 2016), at the IEEE DAWM workshop (in conjunction with IEEE Percom 2017) and at Computer Communication Elsevier journal in 2018. Another journal version (also registered as TR: hal-01675570) is in revision at the EPJ Data Science Journal.