Toward space-time buffering for spatiotemporal proximity analysis of movement data

Hui Yuan, Bi Yu Chen, Qingquan Li, Shih Lung Shaw, Hing Keung William Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Spatiotemporal proximity analysis to determine spatiotemporal proximal paths is a critical step for many movement analysis methods. However, few effective methods have been developed in the literature for spatiotemporal proximity analysis of movement data. Therefore, this study proposes a space-time-integrated approach for spatiotemporal proximal analysis considering space and time dimensions simultaneously. The proposed approach is based on space-time buffering, which is a natural extension of conventional spatial buffering operation to space and time dimensions. Given a space-time path and spatial tolerance, space-time buffering constructs a space-time region by continuously generating spatial buffers for any location along the space-time path. The constructed space-time region can delimit all space-time locations whose spatial distances to the target trajectory are less than a given tolerance. Five space-time overlapping operations based on this space-time buffering are proposed to retrieve all spatiotemporal proximal trajectories to the target space-time path, in terms of different spatiotemporal proximity metrics of space-time paths, such as Fréchet distance and longest common subsequence. The proposed approach is extended to analyze space-time paths constrained in road networks. The compressed linear reference technique is adopted to implement the proposed approach for spatiotemporal proximity analysis in large movement datasets. A case study using real-world movement data verifies that the proposed approach can efficiently retrieve spatiotemporal proximal paths constrained in road networks from a large movement database, and has significant computational advantage over conventional space-time separated approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1211-1246
Number of pages36
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2018


  • movement data
  • Space-time buffering
  • space-time overlapping
  • spatiotemporal proximity
  • time geography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


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