Consumer Data Research Centre

Geo+Data London: 1 – Round Up

For those of you who were unable to come to our first Geo+Data London event, we have asked our speakers to provide a short summary of their presentation as well as a copy of their slides.

Balamurgan Soundararaj: Estimating real-time high street footfall from Wi-Fi probe requests

In the past decade, Wi-Fi has emerged as the most extensively used technology in providing internet access to mobile devices in public spaces, resulting in multiple Wi-Fi networks being available at almost every location in dense urban environments. Modern mobile devices with Wi-Fi capability regularly broadcast a special type of signal – probe requests – to discover these available Wi-Fi networks, and the devices switch between them seamlessly. Though this provides us with an open, passive, continuous, and wireless source of data available at any urban location which can be used to understand the number of people present in the immediate surrounding in real-time and with high granularity, we also face two major uncertainties in such data sets. First is the field of measurement, which is impossible to delineate precisely; and second is the randomisation of MAC addresses by devices to protect the privacy of the users. In this talk, I introduced a proposed methodology which solves the former by classifying reported signal strength using k-means clustering algorithm, and solves the latter by a novel graph based clustering algorithm. Thus enabling us to estimate pedestrian footfall at these locations from just the Wi-Fi probe requests with considerable accuracy and without infringing on the privacy of the users involved.

To see Bala’s beautiful presentation, please click here. You will need to use the arrow buttons on your keyboard to click through it.

Bala Soundararaj is a a PhD student in the Department of Geography at UCL. To learn more about Bala, please click here.


Alastair McMahon: Smart Cities and Smart Transportation

Alastair is Analytics Director at Telefonica UK. To learn more about his work, please click here.

To see a copy of Alastair’s slides, please click here.


See here for a news item about the event. Our next event will be on Tuesday 4th December and features speakers from Mastercard and UCL. We will release full information and registration details shortly.


Geo+Data London: 1

The CDRC and the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) are collaborating for a six-part series of events entitled Geo+Data London.

These events aim to provide an environment for those working with geographic data to meet, share, and learn from experiences and best practices as demonstrated by industry and current academic research.

Event 1:  WiFi technology and smart cities, 2 October 2018

Telefónica UK and University College London (UCL) discussed the significance of WiFi technology and smart cities.

Schedule of events:
18:00: Registration
18.25: Introduction and Welcome by Tim Marston (Carto).
18.30: Alastair McMahon (Telefónica UK): ‘Smart Cities and Smart Transportation’.
19.00: Bala Soundararaj (UCL): ‘Estimating real-time high street footfall from Wi-Fi probe requests’.
19.30: Reception and networking
20.30: Event close

About the speakers:
Alastair McMahon is Analytics Director at Telefonica UK.

Balamurgan Soundararaj is a PhD student in the Department of Geography at UCL working with CDRC footfall data produced under the SmartStreetSensor project. Prior to this he worked in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between UCL School of Construction and Project Management and Transport for London looking at the use of network analysis in project management. His primary research interest is in the analysis and visualisation of large scale complex data relating to spatial and networked phenomena.