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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Go With the Flow

The Economist has a nice piece on an innovative way to know where people come from, are and go to. Using GSM location data.

At least in metropolitan areas, the method seems to work well, and offers undeniable advantages compared to classical methods to assess traffic - primarily, extensive coverage, and historical depth, since we don't get one snapshot, but for every mobile phone we can know time-dependent position, therefore origin and destination.

This will allow traffic planners to know where exactly are the weakest links in their network.

Of course this data will not come out of the companies for free, it will rather have to be well paid and will provide another source of revenue now that growth is stalling - in Austria, says the article, there already are 112 phones per 100 people - who would buy new ones?

The initial research was performed by the MIT SenseLab (or something like this) using data from Telecom Italia and an austrian GSM operator.

read more | digg story

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