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Mobile Positioning Data FAQ: MPD Basics

You might have read that mobile positioning data (MPD) has been identified by the United Nations as one of the big data sources with a great promise for its use in official statistics. Sounds great, does it not? But you probably have many questions. For instance: What exactly is mobile positioning data and how accurate is it? In this blog post, we have collected some of the most frequently asked questions we get from organisations that want to learn how to use MPD for tourism statistics, urban planning, transportation, or emergency management, just to name a few of the use cases we have worked on in the past. Keep reading and find out what MPD is and how it works!
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5 New Handbooks for the Use of Mobile Phone Data in Statistics: Meeting the needs of all without burden to any

Big decisions require high-level insights. Whether managing a pandemic, or rearranging national resources to help your society grow, having good data is a must. That is why the United Nations Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics (UN CEBD) is launching five new handbooks for the use of mobile phone data in different statistical domains. The handbooks will be presented at Expo 2020 in Dubai on 26 January at the “Bringing Big Data and Data Science Close to Home” event.
Five new handbooks to be introduced on 26 January by UN CEBD. Photo is illustrative.
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News from the biggest statistics event of the year - World Statistics Congress 2021

At the World Statistics Congress (WSC), Queen Máxima of the Netherlands stated in her welcoming message that “statistics provide evidence that guide decisions and it has been data and statistics that have informed health authorities, governments, and citizens through this global crisis”. Indeed, the current COVID-19 pandemic raises important questions in terms of collecting, sharing, and using data, and highlights the challenges associated with the production of official statistics. Hence, it seems fitting that during this biggest event of the year, the statistical community comes together to reflect on some of the lessons learned from the pandemic.
Logo of the Virtual 63rd ISI World Statistics Congress 2021. Source: International Statistical Institute

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Building resilience through mobile positioning data in Estonia and Indonesia

Mobile positioning data (MPD) has been used in crisis management for years now and it has been proven to be very accurate in monitoring mobility. Near real-time MPD has successfully been used in the past, e.g. after the earthquake in Haiti in 2008, and in Nepal, Vanuatu and The Gambia to monitor disasters or virus spreading. There is increasing interest among policymakers in measuring hazardous events and disasters. National statistical systems collect basic data on population, economy, and other relevant topics necessary for disaster risk management, but the problem is that census and survey data, although reliable, have limitations in measuring large-scale population movements due to logistical constraints in data collection. (Arai et al., 2021)
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