Event Details

Tuesday, 16 April 2013
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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Miss Kate Swanson
Org. Unit:
Geography, Planning and Environmental Management

Event Description

Full Description:
The hegemony of single point population estimates is challenged by a growing recognition that populations can be highly dynamic, and experience large daily, weekly and seasonal fluctuations (Cook 1996, UN 2008). Estimates which capture the rise and fall of populations are needed for a range of purposes, including the physical planning of our urban spaces, the provision of goods and service, emergency response and policy formulation.

The demand for these estimates has been largely unmet due to a lack of data at an appropriate spatial and temporal resolution. In the past decade, however, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) derived data has begun to emerge as a source for the estimation of temporary populations (Ahas 2007).

The present study draws on data recording smart phone internet connections to estimate the diurnal, daily and weekly flux in the service population at the University of Queensland St Lucia campus. Data on the timing, duration and location of smart phone connections on campus are benchmarked against results from a 2011 study of the UQ St Lucia campus population (Charles-Edwards and Bell forthcoming) with a view to generating ongoing campus population estimates.

The study highlights a number of issues in employing ICT data for this purpose. These include the need to adjust for differences in smart phone usage patterns by staff and students, and problems in inferring population flows from data which provide only a partial record of individuals’ locations in space and time.

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