Meetings on Big Data for Official Statistics

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5th International Conference on Big Data
  Kigali, Rwanda         29 April - 3 May 2019

The 5th International Conference on Big Data for official statistics will be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 29 April until 3 May 2019. The first 3 days of the week will be devoted to training workshops for African countries and a seminar of activities of a Data Science Campus for official statistics. The seminar will demonstrate projects for the African continent, including projects on Digital Earth Africa. The last 2 days of the week will be for keynote speakers and several high-level panels. This week in Kigali will show that new data sources and new technologies can also be used in Africa to get better data for better policies.


International Meeting on Measuring Human Mobility
  Tbilisi, Georgia         27 - 29 March 2019

The international meeting is built on three parts, namely (1) measuring human mobility using mobile phone data, (2) compiling migration and tourism statistics using traditional data sources, and (3) project implementation using the UN Global Planform.

UNSD, ITU, national statistical offices, other national agencies and other international institutes will work together to develop and test methods to estimate migration and tourism statistics in Georgia with use of mobile phone data from Georgian mobile phone operators. Thereafter, other countries will test these new methods, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, Italy, the Netherlands, Columbia and Egypt.


4th UN Conference on Big Data
  Bogota, Colombia         8 - 10 Nov 2017

Data collaboratives are a new challenge and new opportunity for the community of official statistics - in relation to Big Data, to the SDGs, to the sharing of data, services, technologies, and know how.

  • How can statistical offices, technology companies and data owners collaborate in a mutually beneficial way in a changing world, in which data are seen as the most important source for creating wealth and development for all?
  • What are the experiences and lessons learned from existing data collaboratives in relation to coverage, inclusion (and exclusion) of partners, activities, management and financing?
  • How can we share micro-data and other sensitive data in a federated cloud environment given regulatory frameworks for data privacy and statistical laws protection confidentiality?
  • How could we effectively and collaboratively use modern tools and services, such as data lakes, integrated geo-spatial data and statistics, or open source elastic stack while adapting job profiles and skills sets in the statistical office?

These and similar questions will be addressed at the 4th UN Conference on Big Data.


3rd Global International Conference on Big Data
for Official Statistics

  Dublin, Ireland         30 Aug - 1 Sep 2016

In line with the priorities of work and with the urgent needs for support of SDG indicators, the third Global Conference on Big Data for Official Statistics wants to take the next steps in the utilization of Big Data in the production of official statistics, namely by (1) providing guidance for access to proprietary data and for successful partnerships with data owners, by (2) providing training courses on topics such as methodology, IT tools and project management related to Big Data, and by (3) supporting projects, which demonstrate the use of Big Data for official statistics, and especially for the compilation of SDG indicators.


2nd Global International Conference on Big Data
for Official Statistics

  Abu Dhabi, UAE         20-22 October 2015

On 20-22 October 2015, the second global conference on Big Data for official statistics took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This conference intends to take the development of Big Data one step further. Thus far, many examples of Big Data projects have been demonstrated. Now, the focus will be on lessons learned on the basis of detailed descriptions of those case studies. This is a first step towards guidance on using Big Data for Official Statistics, which can stimulate training, pilot projects and bringing pilot projects into the production environment. Therefore, the theme of the second global conference is 'moving from examples to guidelines'.


1st Global International Conference on Big Data
for Official Statistics

  Beijing, China         28 - 30 October 2014

The statistical community has recognized the potential use of big data for official statistics. The UN Statistical Commission therefore established in March 2014 a global working group mandated to provide strategic vision, direction and coordination of a global programme on Big Data for official statistics, to promote practical use of sources of Big Data for official statistics, while finding solutions for their challenges, and to promote capacity building and sharing of experiences in this respect.

Currently, mostly developed countries have started using various Big Data sources encountering a number of challenges. Mobile phone data, Traffic loop data, Twitter data and Satellite imagery have all been successfully used. Whereas national circumstances can be fairly unique, it is still intended to generalize the use of such Big Data sources to other countries, especially also in developing parts of the world.


Big Data Seminar at the 46th UN Statistical Commission
  UNHQ, New York, USA         4 March 2015

At its 45th session, the Statistical Commission recognized the importance of Big Data for official statistics and established a Global Working Group to develop guidance in this area. Big Data are potentially useful for official statistics, but require new tools and methods for capturing, managing and processing them efficiently. To take full advantage of these data sources, we need to adequately address issues pertaining to methodology, quality, technology, data access, legislation, privacy, management and finance, and provide adequate cost-benefit analyses.

This seminar focused on the strategies developed by some national statistical offices to incorporate Big Data into the operations of the institute. They provided examples of some Big Data projects undertaken by their offices.


Big Data Seminar at the 44th UN Statistical Commission
  UNHQ, New York, USA         22 February 2013

The advent of the Internet, mobile devices and other technologies has caused a fundamental change to the nature of data. Big Data has important, distinct qualities that differentiate it from "traditional" institutional data, in particular the timeliness of the data. If governments wanted to, they could already let Big Data (and the private sector) play a role in providing information on topics that are currently under the purview of national statistical offices. Should these NSOs change their business operations to take on the opportunities of using Big Data for official government purposes?