The extant public discourse on leveraging big data for public purposes is characterized by a competition of imaginations, between hype and pessimism. The term “big data” itself has unfortunately become a Rorschach blot, upon which different people impose their own meanings. LIRNEasia role is to participate in this global dialogue with experiential evidence. We conduct our own big data analyses and engage deeply with policy makers, as well as the private sector who currently possess the majority (if not the only source) of big data of relevance for developmental policy.
The current goals of this research practice are:
- Analyze and produce insights from Big Data and in particular Mobile Network Big Data (MNBD) for informing policy across various domains (urban & transportation planning, DRR, economic and social policy, health, etc.)
- Deeply engage with policy makers and the symbolic environment of policy domains to facilitate the uptake of insights from big data for developmental policy; and be intelligent and informed consumers of big data insights.
- Develop guidelines for the ethical use of mobile network big data in collaboration with mobile operators so as to catalyze greater access to big data for development research purposes by reducing the transaction costs of releasing the data.
- Catalyze the development of in-situ expertise in developing economies to conduct big data analyses for developmental purposes.
This research is being funded primarily by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada.
Team Leader: Sriganesh Lokanathan
Select Events & Presentations
- Mobile network big data for urban and transportation planning in Colombo, Sri Lanka | Data for Policy conference, Cambridge 17 June 2015
- Obtaining mobile network big data for public purposes: LIRNEasia’s experience | Workshop on Big Data for Resilience, London, 5 June 2015
- NetMob | MIT Media Lab, April 2015
- Using mobile network big data for urban and transportation planning in Colombo | IESL, Colombo, January 2015
- Big Data for Development | panel discussion at ITU Telecom World, Doha, December 2014
- Big Data for Beginners | at a course funded by the Ford Foundation, Delhi, August 2014
- Leveraging mobile network big data for development | IIT-Delhi, August 2014
- Big data for development: Responsible use of mobile meta-data to support public purposes | Sri Lanka, August 2014
- Big Data in the Telecommunication Industry | ITU World Telecommunication / ICT Indicators Symposium, Mexico, December 2013
Papers, Reports, & Publications
- Lokanathan, S., Kreindler, G., de Silva, N. D., Miyauchi, Y., Dhananjaya, D., & Samarajiva, R. (forthcoming). The Potential of Mobile Network Big Data as a Tool in Colombo’s Transportation and Urban Planning. Special Issue of Information Technologies & International Development. Vol. 12, No. 2. [earlier draft available HERE]
- Samarajiva, R & Lokanathan, S. (2016). Using Behavioral Big Data for Public Purposes: Exploring Frontier Issues of an Emerging Policy Arena. LIRNEasia & Open Society Foundation.
- Madhawa, K., Lokanathan, S., Maldeniya, D., & Samarajiva, R. (2015). Using mobile network data for land use classification. CPRSouth 2015.
- Madhawa, K., Lokanathan, S., Samarajiva, R., & Maldeniya, D. (2015). Understanding communities using mobile network big data, CPRSouth 2015.
- Maldeniya, D., Kumarage, A., Lokanathan, S., Kriendler, G., & Madhawa, K. (2015). Where did you come from? Where did you go? Robust policy relevant evidence from mobile network big data, CPRSouth 2015.
- Samarajiva, R., Lokanathan, S., Madhawa, K., Kriendler, G., & Maldeniya, D. (2015). Big data to improve urban planning. Economic and Political Weekly, Vol L. No. 22, May 30, 2015.
- Maldeniya, D., Lokanathan, S., & Kumarage, A. (2015). Origin-Destination matrix estimation for Sri Lanka using mobile network big data. 13th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries. Colombo.
- Kreindler, G. & Miyauchi, Y. (2015). Commuting and Productivity: Quantifying Urban Economic Activity using Cell Phone Data. LIRNEasia
- Lokanathan, S & Gunaratne, R. L. (2015). Mobile Network Big Data for Development: Demystifying the Uses and Challenges. Communications & Strategies. [earlier draft available HERE] .
- Lokanathan, S. (2014). The role of big data for ICT monitoring and for development. In Measuring the Information Society 2014. International Telecommunication Union.
- Big data at the heart of smart cities | Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka, 15 September 2015
- Making sense of a million responses | Business Standard, India, April 2015
- Big data can make South Asian cities smarter | SciDev.Net & also on The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka, April 2015
- Now, better urban planning through telecom networks | Business Line, The Hindu, India, March 2015
- Big data for urban planning | The Daily Star, Bangladesh, December 2014
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