Federico Botta from the Data Science Lab talks to Philippa Thomas live on BBC World News about his research into estimating crowd size with mobile phone and Twitter data.
When a protest takes place, estimating the number of people present poses problems for authorities and organisers alike. New findings from Botta, Moat and Preis suggest that data generated simply through our use of mobile phones and Twitter might offer surprisingly accurate estimates of crowd size. The team analysed data from Milan, Italy, and found that they could estimate attendance numbers for football matches in San Siro stadium, as well as the number of people at Linate airport at any given time. Their results could be of value in a range of emergency situations, such as evacuations and crowd disasters.
This interview was recorded on 27 May 2015.
Federico Botta, Helen Susannah Moat & Tobias Preis, Quantifying crowd size with mobile phone and Twitter data, Royal Society Open Science 2, 150162 (2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.150162