Pulse Lab Jakarta, through its ongoing partnership with mobile network operator Digicel, set out to explore how operationalising mobile network data and financial transaction data can benefit the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as inform the implementation of frameworks for disaster risk reduction.
The hypothesis for this research was developed during a field mission to Samoa. Initially, the Lab set out to study the movement patterns of Samoans during tropical Cyclone Gita as measured through mobile data usage. Due to logistical delays, the cyclone season was missed and instead Pulse Lab Jakarta prepared a baseline analysis.
By analysing pseudonymised movements of people through mobile network data and correlating it with evacuation points, the analysis identified that churches are important storm shelters in Samoa. It also showed that such analyses can help identify the number of people affected by disasters to build up an evidence base for decision-makers.
This project was conducted in parallel with several other research projects in other Pacific island countries and the methods for modelling education, household characteristics, expenditure, and income diversity from mobile network data were published in an academic paper. The engagement of UN Global Pulse with authorities and various stakeholders in Samoa has since led to official communication from the Prime Minister of Samoa to establish a Pulse Lab in Samoa that would serve the Pacific.
Read more about: Informing National Statistics and Managing Disaster Risks