A review of human mobility research based on big data and its implication for smart city development

Anqi Wang, Anshu Zhang, Edwin H.W. Chan, Wenzhong Shi, Xiaolin Zhou, Zhewei Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Along with the increase of big data and the advancement of technologies, comprehensive data-driven knowledge of urban systems is becoming more attainable, yet the connection between big-data research and its application e.g., in smart city development, is not clearly articulated. Focusing on Human Mobility, one of the most frequently investigated applications of big data analytics, a framework for linking international academic research and city-level management policy was established and applied to the case of Hong Kong. Literature regarding human mobility research using big data are reviewed. These studies contribute to (1) discovering the spatial-temporal phenomenon, (2) identifying the difference in human behaviour or spatial attributes, (3) explaining the dynamic of mobility, and (4) applying to city management. Then, the application of the research to smart city development are scrutinised based on email queries to various governmental departments in Hong Kong. The identified challenges include data isolation, data unavailability, gaming between costs and quality of data, limited knowledge derived from rich data, as well as estrangement between public and private sectors. With further improvement in the practical value of data analytics and the utilization of data sourced from multiple sectors, paths to achieve smarter cities from policymaking perspectives are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Big data
  • COVID-19
  • Hong Kong
  • Human mobility
  • Smart city policy
  • Spatiotemporal human activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'A review of human mobility research based on big data and its implication for smart city development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this