Identifying meaningful locations
Petteri Nurmi and Johan Koolwaaij
In: The 3rd Annual International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Systems: Networks and Services (MOBIQUITOUS), 17-21 Jul 2006, San Jose, CA.
Existing context-aware mobile applications often rely on location information. However, raw location data such as GPS coordinates or GSM cell identifiers are usually meaningless to the user and, as a consequence, researchers have proposed different methods for inferring so-called places from raw data. The places are locations that carry some meaning to user and to which the user can potentially attach some (meaningful) semantics. Examples of places include home, work and airport. A lack in existing work is that the labeling has been done in an ad hoc fashion and no motivation has been given for why places would be interesting to the user. As our first contribution we use social identity theory to motivate why some locations really are significant to the user. We also discuss what potential uses for location information social identity theory implies. Another flaw in the existing work is that most of the proposed methods are not suited to realistic mobile settings as they rely on the availability of GPS information. As our second contribution we consider a more realistic setting where the information consists of GSM cell transitions that are enriched with GPS information whenever a GPS device is available. We present four different algorithms for this problem and compare them using real data gathered throughout Europe. In addition, we analyze the suitability of our algorithms for mobile devices.