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Publication Detail
Modifiable temporal unit problem (MTUP) and its effect on space-time cluster detection.
BACKGROUND: When analytical techniques are used to understand and analyse geographical events, adjustments to the datasets (e.g. aggregation, zoning, segmentation etc.) in both the spatial and temporal dimensions are often carried out for various reasons. The 'Modifiable Areal Unit Problem' (MAUP), which is a consequence of adjustments in the spatial dimension, has been widely researched. However, its temporal counterpart is generally ignored, especially in space-time analysis. METHODS: In analogy to MAUP, the Modifiable Temporal Unit Problem (MTUP) is defined as consisting of three temporal effects (aggregation, segmentation and boundary). The effects of MTUP on the detection of space-time clusters of crime datasets of Central London are examined using Space-Time Scan Statistics (STSS). RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: The case study reveals that MTUP has significant effects on the space-time clusters detected. The attributes of the clusters, i.e. temporal duration, spatial extent (size) and significance value (p-value), vary as the aggregation, segmentation and boundaries of the datasets change. Aggregation could be used to find the significant clusters much more quickly than at lower scales; segmentation could be used to understand the cyclic patterns of crime types. The consistencies of the clusters appearing at different temporal scales could help in identifying strong or 'true' clusters.
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