Understanding spatiotemporal patterns of human convergence and divergence using mobile phone location data

Xiping Yang, Zhixiang Fang, Yang Xu, Shih Lung Shaw, Zhiyuan Zhao, Ling Yin, Tao Zhang, Yunong Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Investigating human mobility patterns can help researchers and agencies understand the driving forces of human movement, with potential benefits for urban planning and traffic management. Recent advances in location-aware technologies have provided many new data sources (e.g., mobile phone and social media data) for studying human space-time behavioral regularity. Although existing studies have utilized these new datasets to characterize human mobility patterns from various aspects, such as predicting human mobility and monitoring urban dynamics, few studies have focused on human convergence and divergence patterns within a city. This study aims to explore human spatial convergence and divergence and their evolutions over time using large-scale mobile phone location data. Using a dataset from Shenzhen, China, we developed a method to identify spatiotemporal patterns of human convergence and divergence. Eight distinct patterns were extracted, and the spatial distributions of these patterns are discussed in the context of urban functional regions. Thus, this study investigates urban human convergence and divergence patterns and their relationships with the urban functional environment, which is helpful for urban policy development, urban planning and traffic management.
Original languageEnglish
Article number177
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Human convergence and divergence
  • Human mobility patterns
  • Mobile phone data
  • Spatiotemporal patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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