A multidimensional spatial scan statistics approach to movement pattern comparison

Yizhao Gao, Ting Li, Shaowen Wang, Myeong Hun Jeong, Kiumars Soltani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes a multidimensional spatial scan statistics approach to comparing spatial movement patterns based on origin–destination (OD) representation. This approach aims to evaluate differences and similarities between the spatial distributions of a pair of OD movement datasets, and detect areas where the two spatial distributions differ the most. Specifically, two OD datasets being compared are modeled as a bivariate marked spatial point process in a multidimensional space, consisting of points representing individual OD movement records. Such multidimensional space is formed by the Cartesian product of the origins’ and the destinations’ geographic spaces. With this spatial data model, one can evaluate how two movement distributions differ from each other by testing against a random labeling null hypothesis. A multidimensional Bernoulli spatial scan statistics method is developed to detect OD region pairs with abnormally high concentrations of one movement dataset over the other. The existence and the spatial extents of these OD region pairs indicate whether and where the two movement distributions differ. Two case studies were conducted to evaluate the approach by comparing morning and afternoon taxi trips (individual movements), and county-to-county migration flows between age groups (aggregated movement flows), and demonstrated that areas with the most significant spatial distribution differences could be detected from large movement datasets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1304-1325
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • CyberGIS
  • movement analysis
  • spatial analysis and modeling
  • spatial scan statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


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