Daniel Power, Martin Thom, Jonathan Gray, Maximilian Albert, Sophie Delaporte, Tracey Li, James Harrison, Joshua Greenhalgh, Nick Thorne, and Linus Bengtsson.

Abstract

While the commercial world routinely uses mobile data to do everything from targeting food purchases to optimising one’s route to work, the humanitarian and development sector lags behind in optimising service delivery with mobile network data. Despite the fact that 5 billion people are currently connected to the mobile internet, the data generated from cell phone use
is still a novelty for most humanitarian and development organisations due to policy concerns about user safety and the lack of turnkey product solutions. Hundreds of humanitarian and development pilots have successfully demonstrated the power of mobile data and its effectiveness in addressing disaster and emergency response, but the routine use of this data still eludes governments, NGOs and multilateral institutions.

To address a key part of this problem, DIAL, GSMA and Flowminder have partnered to create FlowKit, which takes Flowminder’s proven, proprietary system and makes it open source. FlowKit promises to turn what is today a specialised practice—using data types produced by mobile network operators (MNOs) to inform public health, urban planning and crisis response —and make it routine. Our vision is to help the sector utilise turnkey products and best practices in a timely and responsible manner for achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness.

FlowKit is a suite of software tools designed to enable access and analysis of mobile data for humanitarian and development use cases.

This white paper introduces the key features of FlowKit, providing detailed examples of how these tools assist humanitarian and development actors to improve decision-making and achieve impact. We hope readers will find a use case that is relevant to their own applications. We invite readers to explore the toolkit for themselves or contact us directly at flowkit@flowminder.org for more information.

Back to Publications