Training School, June 2016 - Call


Summer School on Topological and Scaling Analyses of Transport and Social Media Data (June 13–17, 2016, Gävle, Sweden)

Current geospatial analysis is highly constrained by Euclidean geometry and Gaussian statistics in the sense of geographic locations and distances, as well as a well-defined mean and small variance. These two ways of thinking (Euclidean geometry and Gaussian statistics) suffer from some major disadvantages that prevent us from gaining new insights into the underlying complexity of geographic phenomena. On the other hand, topology, fractal geometry, and power law statistics represent new perspectives for geospatial analysis, particularly in the era of big data.

This summer school, sponsored by COST Action TU1305: Social networks and travel behavior, and by the University of Gävle, will provide a set of workshops on alternative geospatial analysis methods surrounding topological and scaling analyses that will enable us to better understand structure and dynamics of transport systems and human mobility patterns. The methods include head/tail breaks, topological analysis, complex networks, and agent-based simulations. The summer school is further motivated by the emerging big data harvested from the Internet and social media such as OpenStreetMap, Flickr, Twitter, and Brightkite, which provide a new instrument for transport research and human mobility. Big data differs fundamentally from small data in terms of basic data characteristics such as accurately measured or roughly estimated, individual-based or aggregated, and massive or small amounts. Big data also differs fundamentally from small data in terms of the data analytics that surround these two ways of thinking geometrically and statistically.

The summer school will combine lectures, hands-on exercises, and projects. We will provide related data obtained from OpenStreetMap, Twitter, Brightkite, and Gowalla for the hands-on parts. We will offer brainstorming sessions to develop some research projects that could hopefully lead to joint publications among the participants. The hands-on exercises will be based on the tools listed below, but the summer school is focused on research rather than software training. Therefore, it is highly recommended that participant install these tools on their laptops before the summer school.


Tools to be used in the summer school:


Head/tail breaks:





Sample workshops:

Workshop 1: Head/tail breaks for data clustering and visualization

Differences between small and big data

Two ways of thinking about geospatial analysis based on fractal geometry and Paretian thinking

Head/tail breaks for deriving natural cities and hotspots from big data

A new definition of fractals based on the head/tail breaks

Tutorial on head/tail breaks in ArcGIS or Excel

 Workshop 2: Complex networks for geospatial analysis and modeling

Why does topology matter in geospatial analysis?

What is a small-world network?

What is a scale-free network?

Why are small-world networks efficient, both locally and globally?

 Tutorial on topological analysis of urban street networks using OpenStreetMap data

 Workshop 3: Agent-based modeling and complexity science

Differences between simple and complex systems

Basic concepts and principles of agent-based modeling

Software platforms for agent-based modeling

Integration of GIS and agent-based simulations

 Tutorial on simulating traffic shaped by the underling street structure using NetLogo.



Bin Jiang, University of Gävle, Sweden

Marija Mitrovic Dankulov, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Itzhak Omer, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Toshi Osaragi, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan


Basic readings

Boccaletti S., Latora V., Moreno Y., Chavez M. and Hwang D. -U. (2006), Complex networks: Structure and dynamics, Physics Reports, 424(4-5), 175-308.

Jiang B. and Miao Y. (2015), The evolution of natural cities from the perspective of location-based social media, The Professional Geographer, 67(2), 295 - 306.

Jiang B. and Ma D. (2015), Defining least community as a homogeneous group in complex networks, Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 428, 154-160.

Jiang B. (2015b), Geospatial analysis requires a different way of thinking: The problem of spatial heterogeneity, GeoJournal, 80(1), 1-13.

Jiang B. (2015a), Head/tail breaks for visualization of city structure and dynamics, Cities, 43, 69-77.

Jiang B., Duan Y., Lu F., Yang T. and Zhao J. (2014), Topological structure of urban street networks from the perspective of degree correlations, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 41(5), 813-828.

Jiang B. and Yin J. (2014), Ht-index for quantifying the fractal or scaling structure of geographic features, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(3), 530–541.

Lerman Y., Rofè Y., and Omer I. (2014), Using space syntax to model pedestrian movement in urban transportation planning, Geographical Analysis, 46, 392–410.

Omer I., Rofè Y., and Lerman Y. (2015), The impact of planning on pedestrian movement – contrasting pedestrian movement models in pre-modern and modern neighborhoods in Israel, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 29, 2121- 2142.

Omer I. and Jiang B. (2015), Can cognitive inferences be made from aggregate traffic flow data? Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 54, 219–229.

Osaragi T. and Tsuda S. (2013), Facility use-choice model with travel costs incorporating means of transportation and travel direction, In: Vandenbroucke D., Bucher B. and Crompvoets J. (editors, 2013), Geographic Information Science at the Heart of Europe, Springer: Berlin, 307-322.

Osaragi T. (2013), Modeling a spatiotemporal distribution of stranded people returning home on foot in the aftermath of a large-scale earthquake, Natural Hazards, 68(3), 1385-1398.


  How to apply

To be eligible, interested participants must be PhD students or postdoc researchers who have obtained a PhD within the past eight years from a COST Action member country ( The number of participants is limited due to budget limitations. For this selection purpose, potential participants must submit a one-page motivation statement (including a proposal of travel grant) and their updated CV to Smadar Amir ( and Bin Jiang ( by February 15, 2016. A committee consisting of the Action’s chair Pnina Plaut, Marija Mitrovic Dankulov, Itzhak Omer, and Bin Jiang (committee chair) will select most appropriate candidates, who will be notified accordingly on March 15, 2016. Note that each participant will be given a fixed amount of Trainee Grant based on his/her proposal, to a maximum of 1200 Euro.

(The Trainee Grant is a fixed contribution based on the budget requested by the applicant and the evaluation of the application by the Training School Committee and the approval of the management committee. The Trainee Grant is a contribution to the overall travel, accommodation, and meal expenses of the trainee and does not necessarily cover all expenses related to attending the Training School.The total grant awarded to each eligible trainee cannot exceed 1200 Euro.)



University of Gävle (Högskolan i Gävle)

Address: Kungsbäcksvägen 47, 801 76 Gävle, Sweden,17.1230825,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xcffb95e8588000df

Gävle is located in the north of Stockholm, 70 minutes by direct trains from the Stockholm Arlanda airport. The University of Gävle campus is about 20 minutes walking distance from the Gävle city center.



 Two hotels near the Gävle city center are Clarion Hotel Winn, and Best Western Hotel, but it is highly recommended to search online for a hotel that suits your own needs.