Simplifying GPS Trajectory Data with Enhanced Spatial-Temporal Constraints




Qian, Haizhong
Lu, Yongmei

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


Raw GPS trajectory data are often very large and use up excessive storage space. The efficiency and accuracy of activity patterns analysis or individual–environment interaction modeling using such data may be compromised due to data size and computational needs. Line generalization algorithms may be used to simplify GPS trajectories. However, traditional algorithms focus on geometric characteristics of linear features. Trajectory data may record information beyond location. Examples include time and elevation, and inferred information such as speed, transportation mode, and activities. Effective trajectory simplification should preserve these characteristics in addition to location and orientation of spatial-temporal movement. This paper proposes an Enhanced Douglas–Peucker (EDP) algorithm that implements a set of Enhanced Spatial-Temporal Constraints (ESTC) when simplifying trajectory data. These constraints ensure that the essential properties of a trajectory be preserved through preserving critical points. Further, this study argues that speed profile can uniquely identify a trajectory and thus it can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of a trajectory simplification. The proposed ESTC-EDP simplification method is applied to two examples of GPS trajectory. The results of trajectory simplification are reported and compared with that from traditional DP algorithm. The effectiveness of simplification is evaluated.



GPS trajectory, line simplification, spatial-temporal constraints, critical points, speed profile, Geography and Environmental Studies


Qian, H., & Lu, Y. (2017). Simplifying GPS trajectory data with enhanced spatial-temporal constraints. International Journal of Geo-Information, 6(11): 329.


Rights Holder

© 2017 The Authors.

Rights License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Rights URI