Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MIT researchers map city by cellphone

15.09.2005


Can you see me now?


Street map of Graz, Austria, overlaid with an electronic visualization of cellphone activity.



Researchers at MIT may not be able to hear your cellphone call, but they have found a way to see it. They mapped a city in real time by tracking tens of thousands of people traveling about carrying cellphones.

Using anonymous cellphone data provided by the leading cellphone operator in Austria, A1/Mobilkom, the researchers developed the Mobile Landscapes project, creating electronic maps of cellphone use in the metropolitan area of Graz, Austria, the country’s second-largest city.


The researchers used three types of data -- density of cellphone calls, origins and destinations of the calls, and position of users tracked at regular intervals -- to create computer-generated images that can be overlayed with one another and with geographic and street maps of a city to show the peaks and valleys of the landscape as well as peaks in cellphone use.

"For the first time ever we are able to visualize the full dynamics of a city in real time," said project leader Carlo Ratti, an architect/engineer and head of the SENSEable City Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "This opens up new possibilities for urban studies and planning. The real-time city is now real: a system that is able to continuously sense its condition and can quickly react to its criticalities," he added.

In recent years, techniques to locate and track mobile devices have become increasingly available; such techniques were crucial to law enforcement officials in their investigation of the Madrid and London terrorist bombings. MIT’s Mobile Landscapes project takes advantage of these techniques at an unprecedented scale by mapping an entire urban region continually at regular intervals.

The continuously changing electronic maps, which have a surprising aesthetic appeal, will be displayed at the M-City Exhibition at the Kunsthaus Graz from Oct. 1 to Jan. 8. Visitors to the show will be invited to participate in the electronic tracking by sending text messages to a server. "This participatory act aims to engage them in the issues of social networks and distributed interaction, but also on the possible drawbacks of limited privacy and geographical surveillance," Ratti said.

The research could also have implications for use in large-scale emergencies and for transportation engineers seeking ways to better manage freeway traffic.

In addition to Ratti, designers on the project include MIT graduate students Daniel Berry, Sonya Huang, Xiongjiu Liao, Andrea Mattiello, Eugenio Morello and Andres Sevtsuk, and sophomore Daniel Gutierrez, senior David Lee and junior Jia Lou. The exhibition is funded by A1/Mobilkom, which provided data and technical assistance to MIT’s SENSEable City Laboratory.

Denise Brehm | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mit.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Next stop Morocco: EU partners test innovative space robotics technologies in the Sahara desert
09.11.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht A burst of ”synchronous” light
08.11.2018 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>