Are there any datasets available that contain real or simulated movement data of individuals over a period of time, or at least some metadata about population movements that might be used to build simulated models.

In particular, I'm looking for fine-grained (say hourly) data on position over the course of a day or perhaps week for a sample region, ideally a population centre with >1 million residents.

If these are not available due to privacy concerns, are there any suggestions for generating semi-realistic models?


3 Answers 3


It's only a subset of population, but many bikesharing programs openly offer their data.

One example, Capital Bikeshare in Washington DC has a data page. This data will include geolocation of each bike with exact time, as well as status of each station and more. There was a recent presentation about using KNIME with the data (PDF link), and you may find their analysis an interesting start.


Four Square has published a few maps showing users check in at the minute level one in New York was like watching ants March... No idea what there api/data access limitations are I thought I heard they released anonymized versions of user though


There was an article written up in Nature a few years back that described a large population (sample, really) of people being tracked from their cell-phone data. The dataset was not released at the time but it might be possible to contact the authors of the journal article about accessing the data. Even if they are not willing to give you direct access it might be possible to discover enough to produce a realistic simulation.

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