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Generating Heat Maps of Popular Routes Online from Massive Mobile Sports Tracking Application Data in Milliseconds While Respecting Privacy

Faculty of Science and Engineering, Åbo Akademi University, Turku FIN-20520, Finland
Department of Geoinformatics and Cartography, Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, National Land Survey of Finland, Masala FIN-02430, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jamal Jokar Arsanjani, Ming-Hsiang (Ming) Tsou and Wolfgang Kainz
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2015, 4(4), 1813-1826;
Received: 15 May 2015 / Revised: 14 August 2015 / Accepted: 11 September 2015 / Published: 24 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data for Urban Informatics and Earth Observation)
PDF [1379 KB, uploaded 24 September 2015]


The breakthrough of GPS-equipped smartphones has enabled the collection of track data from human mobility on massive scales that can be used in route recommendation, urban planning and traffic management. In this work we present a fast map server that can generate and visualize heat maps of popular routes online from massive sports track data based on client preferences, e.g., running routes lasting less than an hour. The heat maps shown respect user privacy by not showing routes with less than a predefined number of different users, for instance five. The results are represented to the client using a dynamic tile layer. The current implementation uses data collected by the Sports Tracker mobile application with over 800,000 different tracks and 2.8 billion GPS data points. Stress tests indicate that the server can handle hundreds of simultaneous client requests in a single server configuration. View Full-Text
Keywords: big data; heat map; data privacy big data; heat map; data privacy

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Sainio, J.; Westerholm, J.; Oksanen, J. Generating Heat Maps of Popular Routes Online from Massive Mobile Sports Tracking Application Data in Milliseconds While Respecting Privacy. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2015, 4, 1813-1826.

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