Global Movement data: The World's Largest Privacy-Forward Mobility Data Set

Kieran Gupta
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Oct 7, 2020

Global Movement data: The World's Largest Privacy-Forward Mobility Data Set

Kieran Gupta

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Oct 7, 2020

Mapbox Movement is a living data set generated from 30+ billion daily location updates and drawn from an underlying data panel of over 700 million monthly active users of Mapbox-powered apps worldwide. This data set captures significant mobile device activity aggregated into geographic tiles of 100-meter resolution (approximately one city block) and various Mapbox boundaries. Use cases include retail analysis and site selection, disaster rapid response, POI busy hour tracking, and transportation planning. Movement Data is now available in public beta to all Mapbox developers.

Movement data offers several key advantages: unprecedented global coverage and consistency, privacy-forward assurances, and a robust QA process that ensures high quality data for use in your applications.

To encourage innovation and enable Mapbox customers worldwide to unlock a variety of use cases we are offering 8 months (January to August 2020) of Movement data at no cost to Mapbox users for 3 major geographies: United States, Germany, and United Kingdom.

“The data provided by Mapbox on rates of activity in specific local areas, in combination with a range of other data from additional providers, including rates of mobility and displacement as well as underlying social vulnerabilities, helps Direct Relief understand how local populations in need of assistance from disaster impacts may be changing their behaviors and locations on a daily basis. This combination of factors is becoming increasingly essential to how we model in real time the effects of disasters on populations and the scale and scope of humanitarian medical assistance which may be required.”

— Andrew Schroeder, VP of Research at Direct Relief a leader in GIS and data science-based humanitarian aid and global response


Daily Movement data shows London activity coming to a standstill

One Movement data set for the whole world

With thousands of Mapbox-powered mobile apps covering nearly every populated metro area in the world, Movement data is your source for mobility analysis across any geographic region. The Movement Activity Index is updated daily for every 100m spatial grid in our global collection of markets. This relative indicator of people movement is used to compare activity levels across space and time for any geography. Movement data is readily available in 8 markets (US, UK, Germany, France, Canada, Australia, India, Japan) and can be made available in additional requested markets with a lead time of 3 weeks.

Privacy first

Choosing Movement data means choosing a worry-free data set that respects individual privacy and allays any regulatory concerns. Other data sets collect device-level advertising identifiers and tag user location data with personally identifiable attributes — with attempts to “anonymize” in post-processing only. However, multiple investigations including recent work from NYTimes have revealed how this type of data can be easily “re-identified” leading to concerning outcomes. Mapbox has a rich history of respecting the privacy of our users, and Mapbox Movement has been built with these same principles at the forefront. Mobility data gathered from Mapbox SDKs is anonymized on device and aggregated in the cloud. No identifiers or other personally identifiable information are ever collected or persisted as part of our telemetry, and location events are aggregated into geospatial tiles of minimum size with strict privacy thresholds.

Simple yet powerful data

Mapbox is responsible for data generation, processing and validation making it possible to debug at all layers of the data stack and ensuring reliability, consistency and quality suitable for use in most applications. Other providers sell data that has been aggregated from unreliable 3rd-party sources, conflated in an inconsistent fashion, and produced without sufficient data quality checks. All our Movement data is 1st-party data sourced from Mapbox-powered apps. We have full visibility into our data pipeline and we use this context to continuously measure and calibrate changes in mobile device usage, which produces a superior and reliable mobility data set.

Movement data is updated daily and monthly, and delivered as flat file data sets with a simple schema — ready for import and processing with common geospatial tools including Tableau, PostGIS, or Kepler. Alongside global Traffic Data and 4 million curated Boundaries, Mapbox offers a full suite of data products to analyze mobility patterns anywhere in the world.

Download sample data today

All Mapbox users can now download 8 months of daily Movement data from January to August 2020. Download your sample Movement data today and check out the Movement FAQ and documentation to get started.

Maps feature data from Mapbox and OpenStreetMap and their data partners.
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