As cell phone use has ballooned over the last several decades, so has an enormous data set of call data records (CDRs) which record (anonymously) our calls and texts, including not only with whom we communicated, but also when, and where. A new review titled “A survey of results on mobile phone datasets analysis“ by Vincent Blondel, Adeline Decuyper and Gautier Krings published in EPJ Data Science surveys the research done with this extensive and powerful data set.
Reviewing the literature in CDR analysis
The article reviews developments in the analysis of CDRs, starting with the simple social network analysis (construction, topological properties, communities, and social analysis). Following that, Blondel et al. discuss how researchers have used the CDR databases by overlaying spatial and geographic information, and then temporal information, and finally analyzing individual mobility.
The applications for all of this analysis include the tracking of traffic, crime, epidemics, economic and housing development, viral marketing, and possibly more.
The authors conclude by noting that the analysis has shown that people actually differ in their ways of communicating, that our networks cluster in well-structured groups, and yet that the growth of all this communication technology has actually not created a “global village.” The review concludes by raising questions for future research directions.
You can read the entire review here.