Date Published: April 30, 2018, 8:22 a.m.
igeria is currently the No 8 in the World in terms of mobile connections with 154 million active mobile subscribers, generating enormous amounts of data in the mobile networks - data that can be put to use for the development of the country's communities. Mobile location data is the data exhaust left over when mobile subscribers connect to mobile networks. Each event on the network is located within the coverage area of an antenna – holding information about the time and location of the user event. There can be hundreds of these location events per subscriber per day. In Estonia, mobile phone data has been used for over 10 years for various use cases – for population, commuting, tourism, and other statistics. The use of mobile phone data is supported by international organisations like UNSD, ITU, OECD, GSMA, among others. Cities authorities (local governments) throughout Nigeria lack verifiable data to function efficiently. In the same vein, the presence of improved data could be a catalyst for social and economic growth as individuals and governments alike, stand to gain from new products and services developed from its further application in key sectors such as public security, health, education, tourism, to mention a few. By processing existing data generated by mobile phone subscribers, this project will address the above challenges facing Abuja city administrators by producing population and mobility.Even more important to the economy of the city, the spin off effect in terms of new jobs and businesses will lead to a reduction in existing poverty and inequality levels. Mobile phone location data is the first method that allows for measurements of de facto population – day-time and dynamic population counts. De facto population statistics allows governments, municipalities, urban and transportation planners, and many other users to answer the questions like: how many people are in the location at particular time, compare de facto population of different locations, what is the breakdown of these people, their home area, etc.
Starting date: 14/01/2018
Project ending date: 11/01/2019
The Mobile Big Data project involves the use of anonymized mobile position data obtained from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to produce various statistical modeling for the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and Abuja Municipal Area Council. We are prioritizing with Population statistics, to be followed by Mobility statistics. The Population statistics will reveal such dynamic data as de facto population of the city of Abuja, including day v night populations by city district, or hourly, weekly or monthly population statistics. The MNOs involved are MTN and Glo. Other stakeholders include Keoun (technical partner)’ TD4PIE, an Abuja based incubation hub and the University of Abuja. The project follows the following key steps: Sensitization workshop for identified stakeholders (2 months), development of policy, regulatory and commercial frameworks (3 months), access to sample data and processing of ‘clean’ data for pilot (2 month), Development Use Cases (3 months), dissemination of data to end-users (2 months).
Global cost of the project is $350,000. Initial investment is $50,000 was required for the early stages of the project. Once the initial Use Case (population statistics) is completed, additional Use Cases will be added. NITDA is providing the initial funding for the 1st and 2nd phases (Sensitization Workshop and National Mobile Big Data Analytic Platform. On completion, the project will be sustained through APIs to be granted to developers to develop solutions to end-user organizations
Although the Abuja Municipal Area Council is the primary partner, the use of mobile big data for official statistics will eventually be of benefit to most of the key administrative bodies of the Federal Capital Administration Authority (FCTA). The FCT Population Commission, for the first time, will have access to the de facto population of the FCT, including Abuja city and the suburban settlements. Population and mobility data is highly helpful in the FCT Education, Transport and Health Secretariats and results in better decision making on budgets and social services. For instance, mobility statistics showing migration trends between Abuja urban and the suburban settlements enables the Health Secretariat determine drugs and other medication supplies requirements in the Maitama General Hospital in Abuja city. The FCT police also benefits from the data to plan the allocation of its resources.
The main challenge by far was the absence of policy and regulations to guide the process of commercializing mobile data. Obtaining access to operators’ data is not a never a smooth sail. Creating a balance between public good motives of regulators and the commercial interest of the operators is a big issue which can be overcome through a multi-partnership governance involving the data owner (operators), data processor (Keoun), R&D (University of Abuja and TD4PIE), regulators (NITDA, NCC), among others
Data privacy is at the heart of the issue, therefore putting together a policy framework that is acceptable to the operators and regulators is key. Secondly, development of local data science related skilled sets is absolutely key for project sustainability. Partnership with the local University ensures access to continued human capacity development and research. The presence of a national agency like NITDA is to ensure transferability of experience, reusability of resources and elimination of multiple investment by other cities in Nigeria
Pictures of the project