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Trajectory analysis via a geometric feature space approach

Rintoul, Mark D.; Wilson, Andrew T.

This study aimed to organize a body of trajectories in order to identify, search for and classify both common and uncommon behaviors among objects such as aircraft and ships. Existing comparison functions such as the Fr├ęchet distance are computationally expensive and yield counterintuitive results in some cases. We propose an approach using feature vectors whose components represent succinctly the salient information in trajectories. These features incorporate basic information such as the total distance traveled and the distance between start/stop points as well as geometric features related to the properties of the convex hull, trajectory curvature and general distance geometry. Additionally, these features can generally be mapped easily to behaviors of interest to humans who are searching large databases. Most of these geometric features are invariant under rigid transformation. We demonstrate the use of different subsets of these features to identify trajectories similar to an exemplar, cluster a database of several hundred thousand trajectories and identify outliers.