Oscillation resolution for mobile phone cellular tower data to enable mobility modelling

Wei Wu, Yue Wang, Joao Bartolo Gomes, Dang The Ang, Spiros Antonatos, Mingqiang Xue, Peng Yang, Ghim Eng Yap, Xiaoli Li, Shonali Krishnaswamy, James Decraene, Amy Shi-Nash

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


One major problem of using location data collected from mobile cellular networks for mobility modelling is the oscillation phenomenon. An oscillation occurs when a mobile phone intermittently switches between cell towers instead of connecting to the nearest cell tower. For the purpose of mobility modeling, the location data needs to be cleansed to approximate the mobile device's actual location. However, this constitutes a challenge because the mobile device's true location is not known. In this paper, we study the oscillation resolution problem. We propose an algorithm framework called DECRE (Detect, Expand, Check, Remove) to detect and remove oscillation logs. To make informed decisions DECRE includes four steps: Detect, to identify log sequences that may contain oscillation using a few heuristics based on the concepts of stable period and moving at impossible speed, Expand, to look before and after suspicious records to gain more information, Check, to check whether a cell tower is observed repeatedly (which is a strong indication of oscillation), and Remove, resolving oscillation by selecting a cell tower to approximate the mobile device's actual location. Our experimental results on travel diaries show that our oscillation resolution approach is able to remove records that are far from mobile device's ground-truth locations, improve the quality of the location data, and performs better than an existing method. Our performance study on large scale cell tower data shows that the MapReduce implementation of our approach is able to process 1 Terabyte of cell tower data in five hours using a small cluster.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2014 IEEE/MDM 15th International Conference on Mobile Data Management, MDM 2014
Subtitle of host publication15-18 July 2014 Brisbane, Australia
EditorsJadwiga Indulska, Mohamed Mokbel, Daniela Nicklas
Place of PublicationPiscataway NJ USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781479957057
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Mobile Data Management 2014 - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 15 Jul 201418 Jul 2014
Conference number: 15th


ConferenceInternational Conference on Mobile Data Management 2014
Abbreviated titleMDM 2014
Internet address

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