Statistics Estonia and mobile network operators restart mobility analysis

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Statistics Estonia headquarters in Tallinnn. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

Mobility analysis will restart after an agreement was reached between mobile operators Telia, Tele2 and Elisa and Statistics Estonia. The study will use anonymized aggregate data.

The goal of the planned mobility analysis is to help the government evaluate the impact of the adopted COVID-19 countermeasures on the movement of people, assess change in the risk of infection and effectively plan communication in Estonian regions. Mobility will be analysed using the same methodology as last spring.

Deputy Director General of Statistics Estonia Andres Kukke said anonymized aggregate data from mobile communications will be used in the analysis.

"Real-time data of networks' clients is not going to be used. The source data consist of anonymized aggregate data by region and day. As was the case last spring, the anonymous data does not allow for identifying or analyzing the movement patterns of individuals. The data on the movement of mobile phones is only used to calculate the rate at which Estonian inhabitants stay in place," Kukke said.

The first results will be published this week at https://liikumisanalyys.stat.ee/

The analysis, prepared in co-operation between Statistics Estonia, mobile network operators and the Government Office, gives the government an overview of the movement of people.

Based on the analysis, the government can decide whether, when and how to create restrictions against the spread of the virus.

The mobility analysis will be carried out until at least the end of April.

Description of mobility analysis method

Statistics Estonia has given a description of their methodology which ERR News has republished in full below:

For the mobility analysis, mobile network operators use a methodology developed in co-operation with Statistics Estonia, which ensures reliability and comparability. 

Each network operator prepares a separate mobility analysis, using anonymous data from their own network as source data. They calculate the main location of each mobile phone number by determining the mobile phone masts that the number is connected to the longest in a 24-hour period. Both average and maximum distance from the main location are taken into account.

It is not possible to identify or analyze the movement patterns of individuals based on anonymous data. The mobility analysis covers only Estonia and does not show in which countries Estonian residents have been.

The results are generalised at the level of municipalities and, when possible, at a more detailed level (e.g. by urban regions in Tallinn and Tartu).

Statistics Estonia reviews the aggregate data received from the mobile operators and calculates the rate for staying local for the whole country, which is used to produce results, such as "87% of the mobile phones in XXX area remain local".

The enterprise Positium visualises the mobility analysis results on the Estonian map, available at https://liikumisanalyys.stat.ee/

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Editor: Helen Wright

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