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Kaupapa Māramatanga o te Panuku Tangata

Human Mobility Insights Project

About the Human Mobility Insights Project

Between January 2020 and April 2022, we bought anonymous mobile phone location data from a data insights company called Fresh Info.

Fresh Info accessed this information from a data collection agency called Near.

The data collected shows how many Aucklanders visited council facilities and open spaces across the region between January 2020 and April 2022.

The data collected is anonymous

We only used anonymised data for this project.

Anonymised data means:

  • all personally identifiable information is removed from the data to allow for anonymous analysis
  • your personal information like your name, address and phone number are hidden and unavailable.

We do not know whose information was collected.

We only know how many Aucklanders visited a council facility or open space, and from which local board area they travelled to get there.

How we are using this data

The data collected helps local board members decide which community services to invest in. These services include:

  • community buildings
  • open spaces
  • community leases.

All local boards received data that shows:

  • the number of visitors to council facilities and open spaces such as parks, libraries and pools
  • which neighbourhoods people are coming from to visit our facilities and open spaces.

Protecting your privacy

Your privacy is our priority.

We did not track mobile devices or Aucklanders for this project.

The data collected does not tell us:

  • details about individual mobile devices
  • your movements
  • where you live
  • your phone number
  • any other details about the phone or the identity of the people who use the phone.

How the data was collected

When you install an application (app) on your mobile phone, you are asked if you want to share your location. This is called 'location sharing'.

If you allow an app to share your location, data collection companies like Near can buy this information from the app's provider. However, not every app does this.

In this case, Fresh Info bought the data from Near to provide anonymous data insights to us.

Opt out of location sharing

You can opt out of location sharing at any time by turning off 'location services' on your mobile devices.

Why we used mobile phone location data

Although we keep count of visitors to our facilities like libraries and swimming pools, we cannot do the same for visitors to our other sites, such as parks and reserves.

This makes it hard for us to know which council facilities and open spaces are well used, and to decide how to best invest in community services.

Collecting mobile phone location data also helps us to make important decisions because:

  • not all of our service locations have the same counting systems
  • there are over 1000 council community leases and over 4000 parks and reserves in Auckland that do not have the means to count visitor numbers
  • mobile phone location data tells us which neighbourhoods Aucklanders travel from to visit our locations, and if they are going outside of their neighbourhood to use a facility or asset.

Why we did not use interviews for our research

We chose to use third-party mobile data over in-person interviews because:

  • it is cheaper
  • many of our facilities are used outside of standard business hours when there is less staff available to conduct interviews.

How long will we keep the data?

We will only keep the data for the purposes of this project. We will delete the data in 2027.

Who are Near and Fresh Info?

Fresh Info is a New Zealand-based data insights company.

The anonymised data sold to us by Fresh Info came from Near, a US-based company compliant in consent for mobile data collection under the California Consumer Privacy Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Read the privacy policies for Near and Fresh Info

Read Fresh Info's privacy policy.

Read Near's privacy policy

Privacy Impact Assessment for the Human Mobility Insights Project

Read the Privacy Impact Assessment for the Human Mobility Insights Project.

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