New publication on predicting financial access in sub-Saharan Africa

Feb 21, 2019

The recent increase in user-generated content and social media adoption in developing countries offers an unprecedented opportunity to better understand the accessibility and spatial distribution of financial services in sub-Saharan Africa. Financial inclusion has been identified as a priority by multiple agencies in the region and on-the-ground efforts are currently underway to identify previously unknown financial access points in numerous developing African countries. Existing techniques...

Social Statistics & Population Dynamics Talk

Jan 16, 2019

McGill University

Grant will be giving a talk titled "Platial Dynamics: Activity exploration through digital exhaust" at McGill's Center for Population Dynamics on February 6th. Details on the talk (and other upcoming speakers) are available at If you are in the area, come by and check it out.

Join the Lab! Masters and PhD Opportunities

Nov 9, 2018

The Platial Analysis Lab is currently accepting applications for funded graduate research from motivated students at the Masters and PhD levels. Potential research topics and requirements for students are listed below.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):
• Human activity patterns and trajectory analysis
• Location privacy and security
• Location-based services & Mobile tracking
• Geographic knowledge representation


GIS Day @ McGill

Oct 26, 2018

GIS Day Poster

GIS Day is on Wednesday, November 14th this year and McGill will be hosting a number of GIS day events in the Geographic Information Center (Burnside 5th floor). I will be giving the keynote address at 1pm titled "Place, Place, and the Fourth Paradigm of Science" followed by a series for excellent speakers. If you are in town, come by and check out the events.

Internet of Things Conference 2018

Oct 18, 2018

I was fortunate to spent this past week as a participant and organizer of the Internet of Things (IoT) conference. Held this year at the Kimpton Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara, CA, the conference has become the premier gathering place for academic researchers and practitioners in the IoT domain. The 8th International Conference on the Internet of Things (IoT 2018) is a fantastic forum for efforts, to share, discuss and witness cutting...

Identifying neighborhood names

Sep 26, 2018

In 2014, Google published a neighborhood map of Brooklyn, the most populous borough in New York City, a seemingly harmless step in providing its users with useful geographic boundary information. The backlash was swift. Residents of Brooklyn responded angrily, many stating that a commercial company such as Google had no right to label and define boundaries within their city. This was not a lone incident, as many mapping agencies, both government and commercial, have come to realize that...

GIScience Conference 2018

Sep 6, 2018

The Tenth International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience ‘18) came to a close last week in Melbourne, Australia. By all accounts the conference was a success and it was great to catch up with colleagues and researchers I maybe only get to see once a year. The Location Privacy and Security Workshop (LoPaS '18) held on the first day of the conference went well with an excellent keynote, three thought...

New paper identifying spatiotemporal urban activities through linguistic signatures

Aug 21, 2018

A new paper lead by Cheng Fu was recently accepted for publication in Computers, Environment, and Urban Planning. This publication represents part of his recently defended PhD dissertation. Congratulations Cheng.

Abstract: Identifying the activities that individuals conduct in a city is key to understanding urban dynamics. It is difficult, however, to identify different human activities on...

New paper exploring the similarities between tourist attractions

Aug 6, 2018

The motivation for tourists to visit a city is often driven by the uniqueness of the attractions accessible within the region. The draw to these locations varies by visitor as some travellers are interested in a single specific attraction while others prefer thematic travel. Tourists today have access to detailed experiences of other visitors to these locations in the form of user-contributed text reviews, opinions, photographs, and videos, all contributed through online tourism platforms....

Two short papers to be presented at GIScience 2018 in Melbourne, Australia

Jun 4, 2018

We are excited to be presenting two short (peer reviewed) papers at the 10th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 18) in Melbourne, Australia at the end of August. The two papers cover very different topics, but both very relevant to human activity behavior and mobility. More information on the papers, including abstracts, are below:

Docked vs. Dockless Bike-sharing: Contrasting Spatiotemporal Patterns