Lavanya Addepalli
May 17, 2015 · 6 min read

Crowd Steering during massive gatherings and in daily life with Cell Tower Pings …!!! Team Kumbhathon

Kumbh Mela, Ganesh Pooja, Chatt Puja, Holi, Bhramosthav, and many more spiritual gatherings in India, Akheri Munajat in Bangladesh, Rush hour in Taipei, Caiqiaohui event in Mianyang, Rush hour in Beijing, New Year’s eve in Paris around Effie Tower and major monuments around the globe, The Boston marathon, The Hujj and several other events and festivals celebrated around the world where massive crowd is gathered. The crowd management is an unimaginable challenge to the local administration and security. With technology on a click away crowd density can be achieved way before the expectation levels. With the massive growth in mobile technology and handheld devices, people tend to carry the devices while in mobility and they do get themselves registered automatically at every mobile towers throughout the path. The proposed solution for crowd steering is to acquire the subscriber registration data here after called as Cell Tower Pings from the mobile towers and analyze it further for several applications. The cell tower pings are one of the powerful and most informative forms of data that can be anonymous and yet be highly useful for crowd measuring, safety and security purpose. Here we discuss crowd density measuring and analysis in context to and beyond a massive spiritual gathering Kumbh Mela 2015 at Nashik, Maharashtra, India.

Narrow down to Kumbh Mela:

Kumbh Mela is a massive spiritual gather held once in every 12 years in different parts of India. The unimaginative crowd management is a challenge to the Civic Administration and Indian Police. The crowd can go out of control anytime and up to any level unexpectedly. Accidents do happen in such situations, stamping, missing people and anything that can be beyond imagination.

Who, What, Why and How?

As an Individual and part of Team Kumbhathon a solution is been proposed for Crowd Steering during Kumbh Mela 2015 at Nashik. Crowd Management is a challenging task, providing a crowd inflow measurement while entering into the city allows the authority to think and apply plan of action well before hand. Gather cell tower pings and plot them as heat maps with latitude and longitude of the tower. Cell towers are enabled to identify GSM based devices which fail only in case if the device is shut down but nothing other than that can fail this. It gives an idea of the crowd density and measurement in that particular Geo locations. A path is traced and density in a specific location be measured. Those highly crowded places should be the places of high sensitivity. With a classification algorithm the stationary crowd and moving crowd can separated for much better analysis.

Next Kumbhathon and Updates @

Who all can benefit ?

  1. Kumbh Mela 2015 @ Nashik

Kumbh Mela 2015 at Nashik, Maharashtra, India is expected to have about 30 million pilgrims from around the country and world for around 40 days. There are selective days those are said to be Holy Bathing days which are the most crowded. Apart from those important days Trimbakeshwar in Nashik is also very famous for Sravan Somwar Pheri where in the month of Sravan i.e. tentatively in July-August based on Hindu calendar. Every year on first and third Monday huge number pilgrims walk and make a round to the hill (pheri). This being a time when Kumbh Mela and Sravan Pheri both happening on same time of the year the crowd is definately not imaginable. TRAI records state that 955 million out of 1.2 billion population in India carry mobile and hand held devices and with ease of services every thing on a click away it is expected pilgrims will carry mobile devices with them no matter what. The cell tower ping data is one such thing that can give a clear information about crowd inflow even before the crowd enters into the city.

Crowd Mapping all the location with respect to GPS(x) and GPS(Y) coordinates. The count is shown on the color bar.

A Zoom view Crowd Density of selected particular Geo Location. The most crowded part of the particular location is more dark red in color.

A 2D view of the Crowd Density with respect to GPS(x) and GPS(Y)

2. Public Transportation

Public transportation is the most dependable commute in any country. Crowd Steering with cell tower pings can give an idea to public transportation system which area is more populated and where to divert more buses and trams. The similar way for Train / Metro station during weekends & peak hours can be planned and the frequency of the trains can be increased. During summer vacation, festival vacation, national holidays, and any such short and long vacation time when people travel from working place cities to home towns. The public transportation can be planned and those crowded areas can have more vehicles and those with low crowd can have limited services.

3. Every Day life — Traffic Jam

60–70% of the population in any city is out of the house during the working hours i.e. 9.00–19.00 hrs. People depend on public transport and also self transportation to commute. Traffic Jam is the most painful situation for any individual from a school going kid to a working individual. Let it be in buses or self driving vehicle; Traffic Jam is something the most annoying for everyone. The traffic jam can cost a life, when paramedics, firefighters, medical attendees, and any other emergency services are stuck up in traffic jam all they could do is wait..wait and wait..!! till it is cleared. The cell tower pings can help in identifying such traffic jam locations and an intelligent route identification program can provide alternate routes for such emergency services to go ahead with no stop.

4. Cab Services

Other than public transportation there is an increase in private cars, Taxi, Uber or any such type of services those are hired for private commute. These services can have a look ahead about the traffic jam which will help them to drop the passenger on time using an alternate route.

5. Law Enforcement

Well it is the subject to be kept under the wrap for discussion in public but on lighter note stolen gadgets, vehicles and missing person can be tracked. Subjected to have an additional GSM based tracking devices attached.

It is an endless count of who all can and will benefit with this cell tower pings analysis.

Related Documents / References:

[1] Blanke, U., Troster, G., Franke, T., & Lukowicz, P. (2014, April). Capturing crowd dynamics at large scale events using participatory gps-localization. In Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing (ISSNIP), 2014 IEEE Ninth International Conference on (pp. 1–7). IEEE.

[2] Wirz, M., Franke, T., Roggen, D., Mitleton-Kelly, E., Lukowicz, P., & Tröster, G. (2013). Probing crowd density through smartphones in city-scale mass gatherings. EPJ Data Science, 2 (1), 1–24.

[3] Yadav, K., Naik, V., Singh, A., Singh, P., & Chandra, U. (2012, July). Low energy and sufficiently accurate localization for non-smartphones. Mobile Data Management (MDM), 2012 IEEE 13th International Conference on (pp. 212–221). IEEE.

[4] Shad, S. A., & Chen, E. (2012). Precise location acquisition of mobility data using cell-id. arXiv preprint arXiv:1206.6099.

Lavanya Addepalli

Written by

“Wandering Researcher” .. Student by profession... Human by heart with clusters in brain.. Travel & Music Lover, Foodie, Ghost Writer