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Comparing Spatial Social Networks with Spatial Interaction Models

Authors: Dipto Sarkar*, McGill University
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Spatial Social Networks, GIScience, Spatial Interaction Models
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Interactions is a core concept in Geography. Thus, several conceptualizations and methods exist for modelling and understanding the relationships and interactions between entities in geographic space. While Spatial Interaction Models (SIMs) have proven empirically efficient and has been widely used since the 1980s, Spatial Social Networks (SSNs) are relatively new and has gained popularity over the last decade. In this presentation, we will explore how SIMs and SSNs model spatial interactions. Even though both methods are based on the same concept of ‘interaction’, they model the systems in different ways. For example, while SIMs depend on distance decay along with push and pull factors to estimate interactions, SSNs usually require the knowledge of the interactions between entities and based on this network to provide insights on the system. Further, SIMs usually provide an aggregated view of the system where the focus is on the ultimate outcome of a dynamic system, whereas SSNs can focus on individual entities and the role they play in the fabric of the relationships in the system. Thus, depending on the application scenario, SIMs or SSNs can be more useful. We will also discuss some special cases in which both methods can be combined. For example, in the absence of knowledge of interaction between a set of entities, SIMs can be used to estimate the interactions before using SSNs techniques to validate and further understand the web of interactions and the role of each entity.

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