The global spread of mobile devices provides new opportunities for better understanding human population mobility, density and characteristics, and for addressing current data gaps.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that:
By linking together the locations of a subscriber over time, we can retrieve individual trajectories potentially showing a record of an individual’s movements.
By combining, or aggregating, the trajectory data for many subscribers, we can study patterns in movement of the population as a whole and produce insights which can be useful in a broad range of areas.
Grouping a sufficiently large number of subscribers derived from CDR data together (this process is called ‘aggregation’) also protects the individual privacy of mobile phone subscribers by preventing the movements of any single subscriber from being discernible.