Great Problems, Great Minds Seminar Series: ‘Modeling Human Mobility Patterns from Big Geodata — What Are We Missing?’

Join the Social Sciences Colloquium at the Department of Social Sciences for this Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series event featuring guest speaker Yihong Yuan, an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Texas State University, who will give a presentation on “Modeling Human Mobility Patterns from Big Geodata—What Are We Missing?” This seminar will take place on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, from 5–6:15 p.m. over Zoom.


In recent decades, modeling human mobility patterns has become an important research topic in various fields such as computational physics, urban planning, intelligent transport systems, and geographic information science. The growing availability of location-aware devices, such as global positioning system (GPS) receivers and smartphones, has provided new challenges and opportunities for planners and policymakers to analyze, model, and predict human mobility patterns. Commonly used datasets include, but are not limited to, georeferenced mobile phone data, location-based social media check-ins, Bluetooth tracking data, and floating car GPS locations. However, the data quality and reliability of these new data sources also raise concerns. This presentation discusses the strategies, challenges, and uncertainty when applying big geo-data to human mobility modeling and travel behavior analysis.


Before joining Texas State, Yihong Yuan worked as a visiting researcher at ETH Zurich and as a senior data scientist in the private sector. Yuan’s research focuses on big geo-data analytics and spatial-temporal knowledge discovery. She is particularly interested in human mobility modeling and extracting human activity patterns from multiple data sources, such as telecommunication devices and social networking sites. She has an extensive background in analyzing the roles of communication technologies in reshaping today’s connected communities and society. Her research has been published in leading journals, such as the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, the International Journal of Geographic Information Science, and Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems. Her research has been funded by private and governmental organizations, such as the United States Department of Transportation, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Texas State Center for Analytics and Data Science, and Microsoft, Inc. Yuan received her Ph.D. in Geography and M.A. in Statistics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her B.S. in Geographic Information Systems from Peking University, China.

“Modeling Human Mobility Patterns from Big Geodata—What Are We Missing?” event is part of the Social Sciences Colloquium of the Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series which explores the major problems facing humanity as we move into the heart of the twenty-first century. To see the full schedule and videos from previous events, visit the seminar series page. For more information, contact Associate Professor of Social Sciences Hao Huang at