Taxonomy-Based Discovery and Annotation of Functional Areas in the City


  • Carmen Vaca Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral, ESPOL, Facultad de Ingeniería en Electricidad y Computacion
  • Daniele Quercia University of Cambridge
  • Francesco Bonchi Yahoo Labs
  • Piero Fraternali Politecnico di Milano



urban clusters, social media, location based networks


Mapping the functional use of city areas (e.g., mapping clusters of hotels or of electronic shops) enables a variety of applications (e.g., innovative way-finding tools). To do that mapping, researchers have recently processed geo-referenced data with spatial clustering algorithms. These algorithms usually perform two consecutive steps: they cluster nearby points on the map, and then assign labels (e.g., 'electronics') to the resulting clusters. When applied in the city context, these algorithms do not fully work, not least because they consider the two steps of clustering and labeling as separate. Since there is no reason to keep those two steps separate, we propose a framework that clusters points based not only on their density but also on their semantic relatedness. We evaluate this framework upon Foursquare data in the cities of Barcelona, Milan, and London. We find that it is more effective than the baseline method of DBSCAN in discovering functional areas. We complement that quantitative evaluation with a user study involving 111 participants in the three cities. Finally, to illustrate the generalizability of our framework, we process temporal data with it and successfully discover seasonal uses of the city.




How to Cite

Vaca, C., Quercia, D., Bonchi, F., & Fraternali, P. (2021). Taxonomy-Based Discovery and Annotation of Functional Areas in the City. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 9(1), 445-453.