New Algorithm Predicts Your Future Movements Within 20 Meter Accuracy
Cell Phone Mapping
IMAGE BY Flickr User Daniel Milford Flathagen
Plenty of hay has been made over which apps and cell phones track our movements, but so far it has been difficult to accurately determine where we're going next - people can be unpredictable, after all, and make dinner plans at random new places on a whim. In that case, what's a prediction algorithm to do? Track all your friends, too, it turns out.
A team of British researchers developed a new algorithm that can predict where you'll be within 24 hours, with 20-meter accuracy. This is a major improvement over other attempts to predict future movements, which have been based in cell phones and even in some cars. These systems track your location over time to determine patterns and habits throughout the days and weeks, figuring out likely destinations at certain periods. But what about when the pattern is disrupted?
Mirco Musolesi, Manlio Domenico, and Antonio Lima of the University of Birmingham combined individual tracking data with data from everyone in a subject's phone book. Their algorithm finds correlations between a user's phone and the movements of contacts in that phone's contact list, and can make an educated guess about where a user is going - even if it's a major deviation from that person's normal routine. Even if you change your typical path by huge margins, the algorithm's error rate is only about 20 meters, less than an average city block.