Dr. Anto Aasa of Tartu University: Use of mobile positioning data in mobility studies
Wednesday, 27 March, 2019

On Wednesday, March 27, ISET hosted Dr. Anto Aasa, a Research Fellow in Human Geography from the University of Tartu, who delivered a seminar to ISET’s BA and MA students entitled ‘Use of mobile positioning data in mobility studies’.

During the seminar, Dr. Aasa introduced a research project conducted by the Research Group in Mobility Studies at Tartu University. They used Information & Communication Technology (ICT)-based services to analyze different societal processes. Among other ICT-based datasets, the CDR (Call Detail Record) data consists of log files collected by mobile network operators to monitor and keep track of billable calling services used by their clients. The dataset contains information about the phone call initiator (the unique and anonymous ID), time of calling activities, as well as the location of the mobile antenna where the call activity was made. This kind of data shows the respondent’s social background (gender, age, and language) and other secondary characteristics, such as anchors (ie home/work environments) and transport demand. This is widely used in tourism statistics in local, inbound, outbound levels.

The research group followed the mobility track and grouped people together in order to analyze their behavior in the following way: Estonians in Estonia, foreigners in Estonia, and Estonians abroad. Through this procedure they estimated the density of the population in Estonia, which was ultimately shown to be quite near the official numbers; censuses are held approximately once every ten years. However, with the help of CDR data, people can accurately estimate population characteristics without any special activities. Among these applications, there are also many other fields to exploit innovative data tracks.