Open Day 2018
of the UN Global Working Group on Big Data


The UN Global Working Group (GWG) on Big Data for Official Statistics was formally established by the UN Statistical Commission in March 2014. The GWG gives direction on the use of new data sources and corresponding new technologies, services and applications. The GWG has explored the use of satellite data, mobile phone data, scanner data and social media data for various applications of official statistics.

The GWG organizes its work through several task teams and through annual Big Data Conference: in October 2014 in Beijing; in October 2015 in Abu Dhabi; in September 2016 in Dublin; and in November 2017 in Bogota. The format of the conference has been: 3-day event with around 300 participants to discuss all issues around “Big Data for official statistics” and to demonstrate some latest achievements. At the most recent Conference, the GWG also successfully conducted 4 two-day workshops on the use of the various different data sources indicated earlier.

Ahead of each of those 4 Big Data Conferences, the GWG held official meetings of the full membership of the GWG. In those meetings the chair (later co-chairs) would report back on the developments and the direction of work; and the task teams would provide a status report on their achievements. The reports of the GWG annual meetings can be found in one place under the Documents on the UN GWG on Big Data Bureau page. Further details of the GWG meetings are available on the UN GWG on Big Data Conferences page. For example, the most recent annual meeting is available at the conference page.

This year the GWG will meet not the day before its next Big Data Conference (Kigali, Rwanda, spring 2019), but the day before the 2nd UN World Data Forum. The GWG grasps the occasion to demonstrate its work to a wider audience. The GWG will show the progress made on the Global Platform – thanks to the great efforts made by ONS, UK – as a collaborative research and development environment for trusted data, services and applications by demonstrating [on the Global Platform] a number of projects in partnership with technology companies, data providers and academia. This Open Day of the GWG is an opportunity to show to all stakeholders where the GWG stands with the development of the Global Platform.


08:00 – 09:00
GWG extended bureau meeting
09:00 – 09:30
Opening session
Welcome by Host UAE and by the co-Chairs of the GWG
09:30 – 10:40
Session 1 – Demonstration of UN Global Platform
  • Introduction by Heather Savory on the objectives
  • Overview by Mark Craddock on the Architecture
    • Demonstration of the UN Global Platform Developers Service for global code collaboration
    • Demonstration of the UN Global Platform Trusted Methods Service
    • Demonstration of the UN Global Platform the Earth Observation Service
  • Big Data Campus by Tom Smith
  • Planet by Andrew Zolli
  • Q&A
10:40 – 11:00
11:00 – 12:00
Session 2 – Demonstration on Agricultural crop and land cover statistics
Earth Observation data:
  • Introduction by Ivo Havinga, UNSD
  • Presentation by Sylvie Michaud, Statistics Canada
  • Demonstration by Jillian Campbell, UNEP
  • Presentation by Sandra Moreno, DANE, Colombia
  • Q&A
12:00 – 13:00
Session 3 – Demonstration on measuring Human Mobility
Mobile Phone data:
  • Introduction by Ronald Jansen, UNSD
  • Demonstration by Margus Tiru, Positium
  • Presentation by Michail Skaliotis, Eurostat
  • Presentation by Marzia Rango, IOM & Francesca Grum, UNSD
  • Q&A
13:00 – 14:00
14:00 – 15:00
Session 4 – Demonstration on measuring Price Fluctuations
Scanner data:
  • Introduction – Sylvie Michaud, Statistics Canada
  • Task team achievements – Tanya Flower, ONS
  • Nielsen’s experience – Sumair Sayani, Nielsen
  • Q&A
15:00 – 15:45
Session 5 – Demonstration of Privacy Preserving Techniques
  • Update on the Privacy Preserving Techniques Task Team, by Mark Craddock
  • Demonstration by Liina Kamm, Cybernetica
  • Q&A
15:45 – 16:10
16:10 – 17:30
Closing session – Way forward
  • Panel discussion chaired by Denmark with UK, Finland, Poland, UNSD, Eurostat, African Development Bank, UAE