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Poverty struck areas can be seen through the eyes of smartphones and satellite imagery

Imagine your smartphone becomes beneficial for the society. The current technological innovation is trying to combine the data from mobile phones and satellite imagery to create high-resolution maps for measuring poverty in various areas.


The University of Southampton and the Sweden-based Flowminder Foundation researchers have found that by combining mobile data and satellite obtained geospatial data they were capable of predicting the poverty struck areas with significant advantages rather than the conventional methods. The traditional methods such as census are taken every 10 years; the survey in the below poverty line areas is skeptical and they are not even updated, which makes the use of smartphones. They are continuously updated along with the satellite data and prove to be the rising gem for the survey. The dynamic view of the geographically spread of poverty by can be examined by tracking an individual’s mobile location, texts, call durations, data usage, distance traveled, and type of phone used and sending it to the respective tower in the nearby location. The mobile network usage and its movement help indicate the economic status of an individual.

The satellites can provide information about the living conditions in the rural areas with ease rather than the packed urban areas which are vice versa in the case of mobile phones. Even though there are areas where there is no mobile phone usage the researchers were able to identify the poverty struck areas using this combination.

It can set a new beginning for the developing nations across the globe to get out of poverty at a faster pace.

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