Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Industry and Business News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



EARTH OBSERVATION
Redrawing The Map Of Great Britain Based On Human Interaction

File image.
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Dec 10, 2010
A group of researchers at MIT, Cornell University and University College London have used one of the world's largest databases of telecommunications records to redraw the map of Great Britain. The research, which will be published in the journal PLoS ONE, is based on the analysis of 12 billion anonymized records representing more than 95% of Great Britain's residential and business landlines.

"Since the pioneering work of Christaller and Losch in the early 20th century, a long-standing question in economic geography has been how to define regions in space," explains Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT SENSEable City Lab and one of the paper's authors.

"Our paper proposes a novel, fine-grained approach to regional delineation, based on analyzing networks of billions of individual human transactions."

Given a geographical area and some measure of the strength of links between its inhabitants, the paper describes mathematically how to partition the area into smaller, non-overlapping regions while minimizing the disruption to each person's links.

For the most part, the results of the partitioning correspond remarkably well with existing administrative regions, but they still unveil some unexpected spatial structures.

"We have discovered a new region just west of London which corroborates an earlier hypothesis of a 'western crescent' centered on high-tech activities," explains the Francesco Calabrese, one of the paper's authors. Wales, and to a lesser extent Yorkshire, also seem to have been incorporated into regions dominated by the major cities of the West and East Midlands regions, respectively.

"The difference between Scotland and Wales is striking," adds Ratti. "Based on our landline data, Scotland is very separated from the rest of Great Britain: just 23.3% of all call time placed or received there goes to or comes from another part of the country. Conversely, Wales, in spite of its unique cultural and linguistic heritage, is well integrated with its English neighbors to the East."

It's unlikely, of course, that Wales and England are going to merge anytime soon, so the discovery that several Welsh cities seem to depend heavily on the exchange of information with nearby English cities, and vice versa, probably won't have major political consequences.

But, Ratti says, the value of the new work is that it shows that analyzing information flow could be a useful tool in the drawing of political boundaries. And, he says, it will only become more useful as data from other networks - the Internet, Internet telephone networks, instant-messaging networks - become available for analysis.

The paper's approach belongs to an emerging field that has been recently termed "computational social sciences" - i.e., the ability to address social-science research questions using huge datasets that have emerged over the past decades as a result of digitalization.

"We are particularly interested in how rich data at the individual level can promote a better understanding of our society, which, in the future, could lead to more democratic, bottom-up structures of governance," adds Calabrese.

"Very little in network theory has been done, believe it or not, on networks in geographical Euclidean space," says coauthor Professor Steven Strogatz, one of the pioneers of network science.

"In reality, on top of the pure topology of who is connected to whom is the structure of actual distances. I think that the analysis of spatial networks, as in this paper, could be a really important area in the next few years."

Ratti C, Sobolevsky S, Calabrese F, Andris C, Reades J, et al. (2010) Redrawing the Map of Great Britain from a Network of Human Interactions. PLoS ONE 5(12): e14248. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014248



Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
Public Library of Science
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


EARTH OBSERVATION
NASA Satellite Sees An Early Meteorological Winter In US Midwest
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Dec 10, 2010
NASA's Terra satellite captures daily visible and infrared images around the Earth and took a daytime image of a blanket of snow in the Upper Midwest this week. Even though astronomical winter is less than two weeks away, the central and eastern U.S. are already experiencing meteorological winter. Meteorological winter is basically an identification of the winter season based on "sensible ... read more







EARTH OBSERVATION
World's First Microlaser Emitting In 3-D

Taiwan to approve three billion dollar China plant: report

Sony and Sharp launch e-readers, tablets in Japan

Google says 300,000 Android phones activated daily

EARTH OBSERVATION
Arianespace Will Orbit Sicral 2 Milcomms Satellites

Codan Receives JITC Certification For 2110 HF Manpack

Northrop Grumman Bids for Marine Corps Common Aviation CnC

DSP Satellite System Celebrates 40 Years

EARTH OBSERVATION
SpaceX Dragon Does Two Orbits Before Pacific Splashdown

ISRO Hands Two Contracts To Arianespace

US company readies first space capsule launch

Kazakh Space Agency Seeks Extra Funding For New Baikonur Launch Pad

EARTH OBSERVATION
Program Error Caused Russian Glonass Satellite Loss

GPS Not Working A Shoe Radar May Help You Find Your Way

GPS Satellite Achieves 20 Years On-Orbit

World-Leading Spatial Experts Meet In Sydney

EARTH OBSERVATION
NASA Research Park To Host World's Largest, Greenest Airship

Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific names new chief, eyes China

Iran upset over EU refusal to refuel its airplanes

Cathay Pacific chief nominated to take helm of IATA

EARTH OBSERVATION
Rice Physicists Discover Ultrasensitive Microwave Detector

UCSF Team Develops "Logic Gates" To Program Bacteria As Computers

Tiny Laser Light Show Illuminates Quantum Computing

Elusive Spintronics Success Could Lead To Single Chip For Processing And Memory

EARTH OBSERVATION
NASA Satellite Sees An Early Meteorological Winter In US Midwest

Redrawing The Map Of Great Britain Based On Human Interaction

Snow From Space

ASU Researcher Uses NASA Satellite To Explore Archaeological Site

EARTH OBSERVATION
Virginia Tech Engineer Identifies New Concerns For Antibiotic Resistance, Pollution

Eutrophication Makes Toxic Cyanobacteria More Toxic

Waste pollutes Adriatic coast

Neglected Greenhouse Gas Discovered By Atmosphere Chemists


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement