Understanding transportation modes based on GPS data for Web applications

User mobility has given rise to a variety of Web applications, in which the global positioning system (GPS) plays many important roles in bridging between these applications and end users. As a kind of human behavior, people’s transportation modes, such as walking and driving, can provide pervasive computing systems with more contextual information and enrich a user’s mobility with informative knowledge. In this article, we report on an approach based on supervised learning to automatically infer users’ transportation modes, including driving, walking, taking a bus and riding a bike, from raw GPS logs. Our approach consists of three parts: a change point-based segmentation method, an inference model and a graph-based post-processing algorithm. First, we propose a change point-based segmentation method to partition each GPS trajectory into separate segments of different transportation modes. Second, from each segment, we identify a set of sophisticated features, which are not affected by differing traffic conditions (e.g., a person’s direction when in a car is constrained more by the road than any change in traffic conditions). Later, these features are fed to a generative inference model to classify the segments of different modes. Third, we conduct graph-based post-processing to further improve the inference performance. This post-processing algorithm considers both the commonsense constraints of the real world and typical user behaviors based on locations in a probabilistic manner. The advantages of our method over the related works include three aspects. 1) Our approach can effectively segment trajectories containing multiple transportation modes. 2) Our work mined the location constraints from user-generated GPS logs, while being independent of additional sensor data and map information like road networks and bus stops. 3) The model learned from the dataset of some users can be applied to infer GPS data from others. Using the GPS logs collected by 65 people over a period of 10 months, we evaluated our approach via a set of experiments. As a result, based on the change-point-based segmentation method and Decision Tree-based inference model, we achieved prediction accuracy greater than 71 percent. Further, using the graph-based post-processing algorithm, the performance attained a 4-percent enhancement.

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In  ACM Transaction on the Web

Publisher  Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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Previous Versions

Yu Zheng, Yukun Chen, Xing Xie, and Wei-Ying Ma. Understanding transportation modes based on GPS data for Web applications, ACM Transaction on the Web, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., January 2010.

Yu Zheng and Xing Xie. Learning Transportation Mode from Raw GPS Data for Geographic Application on the Web, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., 20 April 2008.

Yu Zheng, Xing Xie, and Wei-Ying Ma. Understanding mobility based on GPS data, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., 21 September 2008.

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