Real-time large-scale map matching using mobile phone data

Essam Algizawy, Tetsuji Ogawa, Ahmed El-Mahdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


With the wide spread use of mobile phones, cellular mobile big data is becoming an important resource that provides a wealth of information with almost no cost. However, the data generally suffers from relatively high spatial granularity, limiting the scope of its application. In this article, we consider, for the first time, the utility of actual mobile big data for map matching allowing for “microscopic” level traffic analysis. The state-of-the-art in map matching generally targets GPS data, which provides far denser sampling and higher location resolution than the mobile data. Our approach extends the typical Hidden-Markov model used in map matching to accommodate for highly sparse location trajectories, exploit the large mobile data volume to learn the model parameters, and exploit the sparsity of the data to provide for real-time Viterbi processing. We study an actual, anonymised mobile trajectories data set of the city of Dakar, Senegal, spanning a year, and generate a corresponding road-level traffic density, at an hourly granularity, for each mobile trajectory. We observed a relatively high correlation between the generated traffic intensities and corresponding values obtained by the gravity and equilibrium models typically used in mobility analysis, indicating the utility of the approach as an alternative means for traffic analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number52
JournalACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul


  • Adaptive HMM
  • Cellular duration records
  • Fine-grained spatial tracking
  • Low cost
  • Mobile big data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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