A comprehensive analysis of the dynamics of human mobility and presence is invaluable for understanding broader societal phenomena, including the interactions between people, space, society, and the environment. Our research contributes to a better understanding of human mobility and presence from the level of individuals to populations and from activity spaces to functional regions. We analyse spatial mobility in different geographical and temporal contexts, ranging from everyday commuting to international travel and migration. Knowledge about the spatiotemporal behaviour of individuals informs researchers and decision-makers about social networks and spatial segregation, functional regions and transnational connections, as well as the accessibility of services in both daily life and crisis situations.


Mobile big data are recognized as the most promising new data source to study and describe the placement and mobility of the population, specific socio-spatial groups, or individuals. We develop methodologies to use mobile phone, smartphone, and sensor data enriched with registry and survey data for research and official statistics. High-quality, transparent, and replicable algorithms respecting privacy are needed to process and maximize the hidden potential of mobile big data on a global scale. The value chain to convert raw mobile big data to meaningful indicators of human mobility and presence is complex, including methodological steps such as the detection of significant locations, movements, and the social characteristics of phone users, spatial interpolation, and extrapolation from sample to population level. Accurate, timely, and representative indicators based on mobile big data help to understand diverse social phenomena and to develop new perspectives.

Check also out our published data and applications:

Population Mobility Monitor – a pilot for the Tartu region


We are the pioneers of activity space-based inequality research. Human presence and mobility data help to address socio-spatial inequalities both in the daily lives of people as well as throughout their life course. While conventional spatial inequality studies have typically focused on residential segregation, our research addresses inequalities and segregation in the whole activity space, including workplaces, leisure activities, and daily travel. Furthermore, we have introduced the concept of “transnational activity space”, which enables the inspection of socio-spatial inequalities in cross-border situations. Daily travel and mobility choice data coupled with contextual data sets, such as greenery or noise, allow us to examine exposure to environmental harms and benefits and subsequent (in)equalities. Our research contributes to the development and governance of healthy, just, and sustainable societies.

Check also out our research publications and projects.