Geolocation Data for Pattern of Life Analysis in Lower-Income Countries

Report by Eduardo Laguna-Muggenburg, Shreyan Sen and Eric Lewandowski: “Urbanization processes in the developing world are often associated with the creation of informal settlements. These areas frequently have few or no public services exacerbating inequality even in the context of substantial economic growth.

In the past, the high costs of gathering data through traditional surveying methods made it challenging to study how these under-served areas evolve through time and in relation to the metropolitan area to which they belong. However, the advent of mobile phones and smartphones in particular presents an opportunity to generate new insights on these old questions.

In June 2019, Orbital Insight and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Arab States Human Development Report team launched a collaborative pilot program assessing the feasibility of using geolocation data to understand patterns of life among the urban poor in Cairo, Egypt.

The objectives of this collaboration were to assess feasibility (and conditionally pursue preliminary analysis) of geolocation data to create near-real time population density maps, understand where residents of informal settlements tend to work during the day, and to classify universities by percentage of students living in informal settlements.

The report is organized as follows. In Section 2 we describe the data and its limitations. In Section 3 we briefly explain the methodological background. Section 4 summarizes the insights derived from the data for the Egyptian context. Section 5 concludes….(More)”.