Information created by mobile devices represents a great potential for improving the current or creating new official statistics. The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SURS) is exploring the possibility of including the data managed by mobile operators into the statistical process.
Statistical offices have various solutions in geo-referencing official statistics and the most convenient approach is to integrate the geospatial information from spatial registers into a regular statistical production process. Spatial registers in Slovenia generally contain administrative and other divisions of the national territory including the coordinates of centroids of buildings with positional accuracy as precise as 1 meter. The potential of the registers regarding the level of positional accuracy of statistical data thus appears to be nearly exhausted since the user needs at the moment do not exceed the available 1 metre and this is not likely to change in the near future. On the other hand, the dimension that is far from being exploited is time! Temporal accuracy of geo-referenced data opens an entirely new field of challenges for NSIs where the already existing data managed by the mobile operators can be applied to the official statistical process.
To begin the exploration of the data managed by the mobile operators, i.e. mobile data, from this time-space perspective seemed to be a good starting point. Once the data are adequately placed in the space considering the traditional statistical dissemination units, e.g. municipalities, other attributes of the users of mobile telephony can easily be added and the production of new or complementary statistics can occur.
The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SURS) launched a pilot project in 2013 within the Eurostat grant “Merging statistics and geospatial information” on applying the mobile data to official statistical production. The main aim of the project is to study the adequacy of the mobile data for statistical purposes and to recognise SURS’s current potential deficiencies regarding the data infrastructures or human resources. The project should also answer some questions regarding the safety of handling these sensitive data (interest of SURS and the Information Commissioner) and possible application also by other institutions (interest of the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief and mobile operators).
Source: EFGS Conference, 2015
Contact: Igor KUZMA at the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia