Unpacking tourism destinations and statistics with Janika Raun, PhD

As tourists, we visit destinations without a second thought, but as researchers, do we really understand what is a tourism destination? Our colleague and friend Janika Raun from the Mobility Lab at the University of Tartu successfully defended her PhD thesis on 26 June. Janika’s years of research on tourism destinations in the definition of visitors’ temporal and spatial behavior has culminated in a dissertation, “Mobile positioning data for tourism destination studies and statistics”, which aims to understand the concept of ‘tourism destination’ through mobile positioning data (MPD). We had a chat with Janika about why it is so important to have this type of knowledge available in tourism studies.
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Mobile Tartu 2020: 6 Key Takeaways from the Conference

Researchers and industry leaders gathered at the first ever virtual Mobile Tartu conference on 30 June. The field is blooming with research involving new sources of location data and no lockdown can keep people from sharing their latest findings, featuring how to best use location data from mobile phones and other sources. Mobile Tartu is a biennial academic conference on human mobility and mobility data, held this year for the 7th time. The conference brings together academics, international organisations and industry professionals from around the world.
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#MeetTheTeam: What is better than one Kaisa? Two Kaisas, of course.

You’re not seeing double, trust us. Our latest #MeetTheTeam post takes a peek behind the scenes. We want to introduce to you our Kaisas, who are an essential part in Positium’s operation. One is a methodology guru - she knows everything there is to know about how data processing works at Positium. The other one is a data visualisation wizard whose beautiful maps engage people from around the globe. Let’s meet them.
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Data collection under lockdown: case of BPS Statistics Indonesia and the value of big data

The sweeping pandemic is not just forcing us to change our daily habits and routine, but has also made governments reevaluate how decisions are made. Data has the power to fuel decision-making, especially when authorities need to make fast choices in rapidly changing conditions in order to save lives. But what if one of the most commonly used collection methods for data suddenly stopped functioning?
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Technical and analytical capabilities of mobile positioning to control the spread of infectious diseases

In light of the recent global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put together an overview, which highlights the technical and analytical capabilities of mobile positioning in controlling the spread of the infectious diseases SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. Broadly, there are many options. The key question, however, is which of the options would be the most beneficial in controlling the spread of the virus.
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November Highlights: #30DayMapChallenge

In November we participated in the #30DayMapChallenge on Twitter. The event was launched when Topi Tjukanov from Gispo (Finland) tweeted an idea. Little did he know that the idea would spark a wildfire in the global geography community. 

After 300+ retweets, Topi put together a list of categories, one for every day of the month. The event attracted over 400 participants from more than 130 countries who posted a total of over 4000 times using the hashtag. Positium was among the 24 participants who posted a map on all 30 days and we all learned something from each of the maps one of our colleagues created (it was a team effort!).
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10 reasons why MPD is the upgrade tourism statistics needs

The use of mobile positioning data (MPD) has evolved with Positium as the market leader for nearly 15 years. MPD is a unique data source that can provide a new way of thinking in statistics – one that is fresh and always up to date in today’s rapidly changing world.

All of that is possible thanks to the mobile phones in our pockets.

Positium was recognised as an Affiliate Member of the UN World Tourism Organisation this year, which is why it seems more appropriate than ever to bring to you 10 reasons why MPD is the upgrade tourism statistics needs.
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How Can Mobile Positioning Data Be Used for Mobility Studies?

Mobile phone data-based statistics are beginning to be actively used by researchers, statisticians and private companies. A combination of mobile and GPS data has been used for interesting studies in geography, urban studies, transportation research, sociology, psychology and many other fields. The reason is simple: the benefits of mobile-based data include a better than usual temporal and spatial resolution, rapid data collection and an extensive sample. As with all data sources, there are issues to overcome.
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Mobile data offers better quality data, at volume, says transport planning expert Graham Currie from Monash University

You can never be too competent with such a complex thing as public transport, says our Mobility Product Manager, Marek Rannala. That’s why in May this year he ended up in Amsterdam at the one-week course “Planning Public Transport Services” hosted by the Smart Public Transport Lab, TU Delft. One of the lecturers at the course was renowned mobility and transport planning expert Professor Graham Currie from Monash University. Graham is Australia’s first Chair in Public Transport and an internationally recognised public transport service planner and researcher. Marek discussed with him the changes in demand forecasting, travel modelling and, of course, the role of mobile data in these processes.

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2500 Statisticians at ISI WSC 2019: Is Big Data the Future of Statistics?

The International Statistics Institute (ISI) will be hosting the World Statistics Congress 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The congress is the biggest statistics event of the year.

This year’s event will bring together 2500 people – statisticians, industry professionals, companies, government and international agencies, and many more. The special focus of the 62nd World Statistics Congress will be on big data and how to incorporate the novel opportunities it offers into modern statistics processes.
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Building the future of public transport with mobile phone data and Remix

Public transport is the backbone of sustainable mobility. We recently launched a new bus route network in Tartu using mobile phone data and several other sources. Our Tartu public transport planning use case proved several points: the combination of mobile positioning data and traditional data sources is necessary for estimating population travel demand; proper network modeling is crucial for getting the strategic level of PT right; communication with all public transport stakeholders is as important as the previous two points.

Remix is a platform that addresses all these points with impressive results. After seeing a hands-on real-life data demo at the Estonian Road Administration, our Mobility Product Manager, Marek Rannala, asked Mariano  Maján and Keita Hill from Remix to shed some light onto how their platform has transformed public transport planning around the world.

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Quick Statistics: The Estonian Song Celebration 2019

What brings thousands of Estonians together in one place? And why are they singing? Foreigners often wonder about the mystical tradition of song celebrations, about how it is possible that every 10th Estonian will meet at festival grounds to sing under a giant arch every 4–5 years. Estonia has a long-standing tradition of music, dance and folklore. This year we are celebrating the 150-year anniversary of the first song celebration. To commemorate this great occasion, we wanted to look back at this event from a statistical point of view.

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Use case: building a smart city with data-driven solutions, inclusivity and innovation in Tartu

On 1 July 2019, a new data-driven bus route network will be launched in Tartu. This city in South Estonia has made it its mission to create a smart city for the citizens through harnessing the benefits of big data analytics. To make this vision a reality, the city government partnered with Positium and WSP Finland to create a brand-new bus route network that would satisfy the real needs of people living in Tartu.  

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Unlocking the potential of big data analytics: Mobile phone data workshop in Rwanda

Mobile phone data offers unique opportunities for national statistical offices in Africa. Without the necessary knowledge or skills, however, it is difficult for them to use this innovative data source for the benefit of their countries.  

To help the national statistical offices in Africa, the United Nations Statistics Division hosted a Workshop on the Use of Mobile Phone Data alongside the 5th International Conference on Big Data for Official Statistics. We spoke to Karoly Kovacs from the UN Statistics Division about what knowledge was unlocked at the workshops and what the future holds for African statistics in regard to the use of new data sources.

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Pressing challenges in Nigeria call for unique big data solutions

With a vast number of mobile connections, Nigeria is ready to tap into big data analytics to support decision-making. Signifying their dedication, the Nigerian National Technical Working Group was inaugurated on 8 May, 2019 to explore the applicability of big data solutions to overcome the country's societal challenges. 

Bernard Ewah is the President of Keoun Technologies Limited and the Programme Consultant for the National Technical Working Group in Nigeria. We had an interesting discussion with him about the current state of big data in Nigeria. Could mobile positioning data offer the unique opportunity Nigeria needs? 

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Africa is revolutionising mobile big data, led by the UN Statistics Division

The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) hosted the 5th International Conference held in Kigali, Rwanda. At the event, the potential for using innovative mobile positioning data sources in Africa was showcased, reflecting on projects that are currently going on around the world and on how businesses and governments can benefit from it.

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Meet The Team: Marek

Next up in our #MeetTheTeam series, you will meet an expert who is passionate about sustainable and smart transport. Marek Rannala develops and manages projects at Positium, and leads consulting in mobility and transportation. Holistic approaches and improving transportation systems characterise his day-to-day work.
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Project Highlight: Analysing Asian Games, the Biggest Sports Event in Asia

The Asian Games is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes all over Asia. This is the biggest sports event in Asia, comparable to the Olympics. This year, the event took place in Indonesia from August 18 - September 2 in several locations in Jakarta, Palembang and Bandung. The 18th Asian Games attracted visitors both locally and abroad. Mobile positioning data was used for the first time to analyse the impact Asian Games had on tourism.

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Meet The Team: Helen

Behind every great business… is an excellent office manager. In our second post of the Meet The Team series, we want to introduce our Office Admin, Helen. This bright-eyed woman keeps our gears turning with flair and finesse. Read more about her and what she does at Positium.
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Meet the Team: Patrick and Manasa

We want to give a warm welcome to a few fresh faces at Positium. The first blog post in this series features our new Data Wizards, Patrick and Manasa, who joined our team in late spring. We had a chat with them to find out more about what they do at Positium and where their passions lie.
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3 Key Takeaways from Mobile Tartu 2018

The biennial Mobile Tartu conference took place from June 27–June 29 in Tartu, Estonia. The international conference brought together participants from all over the world. The three-day event kicked off with an activity-packed PhD seminar at Mooste Manor where the participants got to know one another and enjoy the first sessions of the conference. The second day took us back to Tartu, to the open space of Omicum, where the sessions continued on the wide range of smart ways to use mobile data to learn more about people and their mobility. The third and final day wrapped the event up with mobile positioning data (MPD) use cases from Positium LBS and explored using this type of data for tourism statistics.

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