Building a Responsible Open Data Ecosystem: Mobility Data & COVID-19

Blog by Anna Livaccari: “Over the last year and a half, COVID-19 has changed the way people move, work, shop, and live. The pandemic has necessitated new data-sharing initiatives to understand new patterns of movement, analyze the spread of COVID-19, and inform research and decision-making. Earlier this year, Cuebiq collaborated with the Open Data Institute (ODI) and NYU’s The GovLab to explore the efficacy of these new initiatives. 

The ODI is a non-profit organization that brings together commercial and non-commercial organizations and governments to address global issues as well as advise on how data can be used for positive social good. As part of a larger project titled “COVID-19: Building an open and trustworthy data ecosystem,” the ODI published a new report with Cuebiq and The GovLab, an action research center at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering that has pioneered the concept of data collaboratives and runs the data stewards network among other initiatives to advance data-driven decision making in the public interest. This report, “The Use of Mobility Data for Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” specifically addresses key enablers and obstacles to the successful sharing of mobility data between public and private organizations during the pandemic….

Since early 2020, researchers and policy makers have been eager to understand the impact of COVID-19. With the help of mobility data, organizations from different sectors were able to answer some of the most pressing questions regarding the pandemic: questions about policy decisions, mass-communication strategies, and overall socioeconomic impact. Mobility data can be applied to specific use cases and can help answer complex questions, a fact that The GovLab discusses in its short-form mobility data brief. Understanding exactly how organizations employ mobility data can also improve how institutions operate post-pandemic and make data collaboration as a whole more responsible, sustainable, and systemic.

Cuebiq and the GovLab identified 51 projects where mobility data was used for pandemic response, and then selected five case studies to analyze further. The report defines mobility data, the ethics surrounding it, and the lessons learned for the future….(More)”.