5th International Conference on
Big Data for Official Statistics
Working together — Learning together

Workshop on use of Mobile Phone Data
Organized by Positium, Flowminder, and BPS Indonesia

This workshop aims to demystify mobile phone data by way of practical work with datasets themselves. The course is structured around the chain of processing mobile phone data (MPD), from big data to results. During this course you will be able to learn and experience (a) what is mobile phone data; (b) how to extract insights; (c) how to use it for official statistics.

29 April - 1 May 2019
Data Science Campus, National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
Mr Siim Esko, Positium
Ms Tracey Li, Flowminder
Ms Alfatihah Reno, BPS Indonesia
Mr Karoly Kovacs, UNSD
Mr Shengjie Lai, University of Southampton


Day 1: Mobile Phone Data and Official Statistics
Monday, 29 April 2019

Presenter: Karoly Kovacs

Introductions to the workshop – Why use Big Data for Official Statistics

Session 1.1 - Mobile Phone Data use in Official Statistics
Presenter: Karoly Kovacs  
  • UN Global Working Group for Big Data in Official Statistics has a dedicated Task Team on Mobile Phone Data – overview of the objectives, deliverables and current work of the task team and its ongoing projects
  • Current projects in the use of MPD for official statistics

Session 1.2 - Mobile Phone Data overview
Presenter: Siim Esko

What is mobile phone location data? Where does it come from? What information does it hold and what it doesn’t?

Exercise - Mobile Phone Data hands-on
Facilitators: Siim Esko, Tracey Li and Alfatihah Reno

Participants will have access to and inspect two common types of mobile phone data – Call Detail Records and signaling data – in the raw data form

Session 1.3 - Access MPD
Presenter: Siim Esko and Tracey Li

How to get access to mobile data for NSIs?

  • Privacy and regulatory concerns
  • Data access models
  • Understanding stakeholders and partnership models

Exercise - Mobile Phone Data survey

Participants will fill a brief survey on the necessary conditions currently available in their organization for accessing and using mobile phone data.


Day 2: Mobile Phone Data and Official Statistics
Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Session 2.1 - Working with MPD for Official Statistics
Presenter: Alfatihah Reno Maulani
  • How to clean and pre-process the data?
  • How to calculate tourism statistics?
  • How to use mobile phone data for detecting homes?

Coverage challenges to overcome with MPD
Presenter: Siim Esko

Exercise - Exploring MPD

Exploring MPD using tools of your choice to detect tourism and home location

Session 2.2 - Working with MPD in resource-scarce settings
Presenter: Tracey Li
  • MPD in resource-scarce settings – limitations and data quality issues
  • Examples of basic analysis and aggregates

Session 2.3 - Planning a Mobile Phone Data Project
Presenter: Siim Esko

Develop roadmaps for MPD projects - discuss the current situation based on survey responses and analysing the missing pieces in each country


Day 3: Mobile Phone Data and Official Statistics
Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Session 3.1 - Current research and future direction
Presenters: Tracey Li, Shengjie Lai
  • Review of the research base around MPD
  • Recent research in the field in migration and population statistics
  • Discussion on the standardization of methods

Session 3.2 - Workshop wrap-up and close
Facilitator: Karoly Kovacs
  • General discussion and Q&A with workshop participants
  • Feedback