[CEATEC 2011] NTT Docomo is showcasing its experimental research in population statistics compiled using anonymous data collected from the Docomo mobile network. According to the information provided by the largest Japanese carrier, it is possible to count the number of mobile phones and then estimate the geographic distribution of a population, the process, called mobile spatial statistics, could be used to know the population distribution in an area, the gender and age repartition and the movements of people between areas.
Docomo is involved in two research projects in collaboration with Japanese universities that have shown how to use these statistics to estimate the population changes in particular areas, or how difficult it would be for some people from specific locations to return home during a disaster. The technology could be very useful for planning and for designing prevention measures.
NTT Docomo states that it has established strict procedures to ensure users privacy when collecting population via its infrastructure.