Urban Boundary Detection from Digital Trace Data

Authors: Christa Brelsford*, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Rudy Arthur, University of Exeter, Hywel Williams, University of Exeter
Topics: Urban Geography, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: Urban, Data Science, Twitter, boundary analysis
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Harding, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


As the global urban population grows, there is a substantial need for definitions of urban boundaries which can be updated more rapidly than the decadal censuses which traditionally form the basis of most definitions of ‘cities’. Some combination of remotely sensed information and digital trace data are the most likely strategy for more flexible maps of urban environments. We demonstrate that it’s possible to use geo-tagged tweets to delineate urban environments in the US and UK based on a spatially embedded network of social contact and describe how these methods can be extended to generate a measure of urban area that can be consistently applied anywhere there is sufficiently widespread use of the underlying data source.

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