WIT Press

Monitoring Urban Dynamics: The Case Of The Metropolitan Area Of Central Tuscany


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






Page Range

157 - 164




3,251 kb


R. M. Pulselli, P. Romano, V. Niccolucci & N. Marchettini


How can human activity be monitored in space and time? To answer this question it is necessary to develop new tools for investigating dynamic phenomena in territorial systems. In this study, we elaborated data, routinely registered by a mobile telecommunication company, in order to develop a monitoring technique of population density, assuming that the intensity of mobile-phone activity in a cell (a covered area around an antenna) is directly proportional to the presence of people. In this paper, we present an application of this technique to the Metropolitan Area of Central Tuscany (Italy). Results were represented dynamically in sequences of maps that provide a qualitative description of population behaviour in the form of spatial patterns evolving in time. A quantitative description was also provided based on the measurement of cell-phone calls intensity within given areas. Data elaborating and geo-processing allowed for combining spatial and time-series analysis and understanding the general functioning of a comprehensive geo-demographic system. The methodology discussed here intends to give a contribution towards the implementation of bottom-up procedures in order to provide information on use and development of urban metropolitan systems in time and to improve our capacity to handle dynamic processes and thus inform planning practices and future developmental strategies. Keywords: cell-phones, mobile telecommunication technology, geo-processing, urban dynamics.


cell-phones, mobile telecommunication technology, geo-processing, urban dynamics