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  • Head/tail Breaks for Visualization of City Structure and Dynamics

    Bin Jiang

    Chapter from the book: Capineri, C et al. 2016. European Handbook of Crowdsourced Geographic Information.

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    The things surrounding us vary dramatically, which implies that there are far more small things than large ones, e.g., far more small cities than large ones in the world. This dramatic variation is often referred to as fractal or scaling. To better reveal the fractal or scaling structure, a new classification scheme, namely head/tail breaks, has been developed to recursively derive different classes or hierarchical levels. The head/tail breaks works as such: divide things into a few large ones in the head (those above the average) and many small ones (those below the average) in the tail, and recursively continue the division process for the large ones (or the head) until the notion of far more small things than large ones has been violated. This paper attempts to argue that head/tail breaks can be a powerful visualization tool for illustrating structure and dynamics of natural cities. Natural cities refer to naturally or objectively defined human settlements based on a meaningful cutoff averaged from a massive amount of units extracted from geographic information. To illustrate the effectiveness of head/tail breaks in visualization, I have developed some case studies applied to natural cities derived from the points of interest, and social media location data. I further elaborate on head/tail breaks related to fractals, beauty, and big data.

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    Jiang, B. 2016. Head/tail Breaks for Visualization of City Structure and Dynamics. In: Capineri, C et al (eds.), European Handbook of Crowdsourced Geographic Information. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/bax.m

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Aug. 25, 2016


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