Previous studies have attempted to disaggregate census data into fine resolution with multisource remote sensing data considering the importance of fine-resolution population distribution in urban planning, environmental protection, resource allocation, and social economy. However, the lack of direct human activity information invariably restricts the accuracy of population mapping and reduces the credibility of the mapping process even when external facility distribution information is adopted. To address these problems, the present study proposed a novel population mapping method by combining International Space Station (ISS) photography nighttime light data, point of interest (POI) data, and location-based social media data. A similarity matching model, consisting of semantic and distance matching models, was established to integrate POI and social media data. Effective information was extracted from the integrated data through principal component analysis and then used along with road density information to train the random forest (RF) model. A comparison with WordPop data proved that our method can generate fine-resolution population distribution with higher accuracy (
) than those of previous studies (
). To illustrate the advantages of our method, we highlighted the limitations of previous methods that ignore social media data in handling residential regions with similar light intensity. We also discussed the performance of our method in adopting social media data, considering their characteristics, with different volumes and acquisition times. Results showed that social media data acquired between 19:00 and 8:00 with a volume of approximately 300,000 will help our method realize high accuracy with low computation burden. This study showed the great potential of combining social sensing data for disaggregating fine-resolution population.
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