Big data, migration and human mobility

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The term "big data" includes anonymized data that are generated by users of mobile devices, internet-based platforms, or by digital sensors and meters, for example, satellite imagery. With about 5.16 billion unique mobile users, and around 4.57 billion active internet users around the world (We Are Social - Hootsuite, 2020), such "digital traces" present an enormous opportunity to complement traditional sources of migration data and improve knowledge of various aspects of migration. This is all the more relevant in light of the current data gaps and the need to monitor progress towards the migration-related targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The potential of these innovative sources, however, comes with significant challenges.

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