ACM Computing Surveys

Urban Sensing Using Mobile Phone Network Data: A Survey of Research

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The recent development of telecommunication networks is producing an unprecedented wealth of information and, as a consequence, an increasing interest in analyzing such data both from telecoms and from other stakeholders' points of view. In particular,mobile phone datasets offer access to insights into urban dynamics and human activities at an unprecedented scale and level of detail, representing a huge opportunity for research and real-world applications. This article surveys the new ideas and techniques related to the use of telecommunication data for urban sensing. We outline the data that can be collected from telecommunication networks as well as their strengths and weaknesses with a particular focus on urban sensing. We survey existing filtering and processing techniques to extract insights from this data and summarize them to provide recommendations on which datasets and techniques to use for specific urban sensing applications. Finally, we discuss a number of challenges and open research areas currently being faced in this field. We strongly believe the material and recommendations presented here will become increasingly important as mobile phone network datasets are becoming more accessible to the research community.


12 Nov 2014


ACM Computing Surveys