Thursday, February 05, 2015

How Mobile Phones Define Cities

A Tale of Many Cities is a really interesting examination of mobile phone usage in different cities around the world. Using the map it is possible to explore the different spatio-temporal patterns of mobile phone use which emerge in different neighborhoods in the same city.

On each of the city maps you can select and compare mobile phone usage data in different neighborhoods. Select two (or more) neighborhoods on the map and you can view line graphs of mobile phone usage over the course of a day and for different days of the week.

Comparing the neighborhoods in this way reveals some interesting patterns about how mobile phone usage differs by neighborhood in the same city. For example, in Los Angeles the Downtown district sees phone activity peaking during business hours and dropping off in the evenings and at weekends. While in Florence (a residential district) we see almost the exact opposite, with mobile phone usage peaking in the evening and at weekends, when people have returned from work.

If you select the 'spatial clusters' view on a city map you can view neighborhoods colored by whether they are distinctly business, commercial or residential centers. You can also select the 'density maps' view to visualize heat maps showing the number of calls, population and data usage in each of the city neighborhoods.

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