How locational data can be helpful

A lot of the writing or programming we see in mainstream media on the use of location data by corporations and governments tends to be somewhat negative. The focus is on loss of privacy (though I’ve yet to see a decent comparison to past measurements of privacy). On a positive note, phone location data can be put to very good use. Here is a great piece of research using records in Namibia to track sub-national migration movements. This give much more recent and accurate data, compared to surveys and censuses, which has positive potential for housing, social services, investment decisions and so on. One of modern government’s biggest problems is balancing the freedom of people to go live where they like with the burden of providing for them and dealing with the environmental issues alongside it.

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