Guide to Mobile Data Analytics in Refugee Scenarios

The 'Data for Refugees Challenge' Study

  • Albert Ali Salah
  • Alex Pentland
  • Bruno Lepri
  • Emmanuel Letouzé

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Big Data and Refugees

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Albert Ali Salah, Alex Pentland, Bruno Lepri, Emmanuel Letouzé, Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Xiaowen Dong et al.
      Pages 3-27
    3. David Pastor-Escuredo, Asuka Imai, Miguel Luengo-Oroz, Daniel Macguire
      Pages 29-52
    4. Vedran Sekara, Elisa Omodei, Laura Healy, Jan Beise, Claus Hansen, Danzhen You et al.
      Pages 53-66
    5. Jessica Francis
      Pages 67-85
    6. Patrick Vinck, Phuong N. Pham, Albert Ali Salah
      Pages 87-99
    7. Christopher Earney, Rebeca Moreno Jimenez
      Pages 101-119
  3. D4R Challenge: Social Integration

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 121-121
    2. Michiel A. Bakker, Daoud A. Piracha, Patricia J. Lu, Keis Bejgo, Mohsen Bahrami, Yan Leng et al.
      Pages 123-140
    3. Jeremy Boy, David Pastor-Escuredo, Daniel Macguire, Rebeca Moreno Jimenez, Miguel Luengo-Oroz
      Pages 141-164
    4. Antonio Luca Alfeo, Mario G. C. A. Cimino, Bruno Lepri, Gigliola Vaglini
      Pages 165-178
    5. Simone Bertoli, Paolo Cintia, Fosca Giannotti, Etienne Madinier, Caglar Ozden, Michael Packard et al.
      Pages 179-199
    6. Wangsu Hu, Ran He, Jin Cao, Lisa Zhang, Huseyin Uzunalioglu, Ahmet Akyamac et al.
      Pages 201-221
    7. Tugba Bozcaga, Fotini Christia, Elizabeth Harwood, Constantinos Daskalakis, Christos Papademetriou
      Pages 223-249
    8. Harald Sterly, Benjamin Etzold, Lars Wirkus, Patrick Sakdapolrak, Jacob Schewe, Carl-Friedrich Schleussner et al.
      Pages 251-263
    9. Neal Marquez, Kiran Garimella, Ott Toomet, Ingmar G. Weber, Emilio Zagheni
      Pages 265-282
    10. Daniel Rhoads, Javier Borge-Holthoefer, Albert Solé-Ribalta
      Pages 283-301
  4. D4R Challenge: Labor, Education, Health, Safety

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 303-303
    2. Sedef Turper Alışık, Damla Bayraktar Aksel, Asım Evren Yantaç, İlker Kayi, Sibel Salman, Ahmet İçduygu et al.
      Pages 305-328
    3. Fabian Bruckschen, Till Koebe, Melina Ludolph, Maria Francesca Marino, Timo Schmid
      Pages 329-346
    4. Özgün Ozan Kılıç, Mehmet Ali Akyol, Oğuz Işık, Banu Günel Kılıç, Arsev Umur Aydınoğlu, Elif Surer et al.
      Pages 347-379
    5. Marco Mamei, Seyit Mümin Cilasun, Marco Lippi, Francesca Pancotto, Semih Tümen
      Pages 381-402
    6. M. Tarik Altuncu, Ayse Seyyide Kaptaner, Nur Sevencan
      Pages 403-416
    7. Erika Frydenlund, Meltem Yilmaz Şener, Ross Gore, Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken, Engin Bozdag, Christa de Kock
      Pages 417-431
    8. Michel Beine, Luisito Bertinelli, Rana Cömertpay, Anastasia Litina, Jean-François Maystadt, Benteng Zou
      Pages 433-449
  5. Conclusions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 451-451
    2. Stefaan G. Verhulst, Andrew Young
      Pages 465-476
    3. Albert Ali Salah, M. Tarık Altuncu, Selim Balcisoy, Erika Frydenlund, Marco Mamei, Mehmet Ali Akyol et al.
      Pages 477-495
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 497-500

About this book


After the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011–12, increasing numbers of civilians sought refuge in neighboring countries. By May 2017, Turkey had received over 3 million refugees — the largest r efugee population in the world. Some lived in government-run camps near the Syrian border, but many have moved to cities looking for work and better living conditions. They faced problems of integration, income, welfare, employment, health, education, language, social tension, and discrimination. In order to develop sound policies to solve these interlinked problems, a good understanding of refugee dynamics isnecessary.

This book summarizes the most important findings of the Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge, which was a non-profit project initiated to improve the conditions of the Syrian refugees in Turkey by providing a database for the scientific community to enable research on urgent problems concerning refugees. The database, based on anonymized mobile call detail records (CDRs) of phone calls and SMS messages of one million Turk Telekom customers, indicates the broad activity and mobility patterns of refugees and citizens in Turkey for the year 1 January to 31 December 2017. Over 100 teams from around the globe applied to take part in the challenge, and 61 teams were granted access to the data.

This book describes the challenge, and presents selected and revised project reports on the five major themes: unemployment, health, education, social integration, and safety, respectively. These are complemented by additional invited chapters describing related projects from international governmental organizations, technological infrastructure, as well as ethical aspects. The last chapter includes policy recommendations, based on the lessons learned.

The book will serve as a guideline for creating innovative data-centered collaborations between industry, academia, government, and non-profit humanitarian agencies to deal with complex problems in refugee scenarios. It illustrates the possibilities of big data analytics in coping with refugee crises and humanitarian responses, by showcasing innovative approaches drawing on multiple data sources, information visualization, pattern analysis, and statistical analysis.It will also provide researchers and students working with mobility data with an excellent coverage across data science, economics, sociology, urban computing, education, migration studies, and more.


Mobile Phone Data Call Detail Records (CDR) Refugees Refugee Mobility Evidence-Based Healthcare Policy Evidence-Based Education Policy Evidence-Based Unemployment Policy Evidence-Based Social Integration Policy Evidence-Based Human Safety and Security Policy Ethics of Data Processing Big Data Analytics Information Visualization Data for Refugees Challenge

Editors and affiliations

  • Albert Ali Salah
    • 1
  • Alex Pentland
    • 2
  • Bruno Lepri
    • 3
  • Emmanuel Letouzé
    • 4
  1. 1.Information and Computing SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Fondazione Bruno KesslerTrentoItaly
  4. 4.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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