Big data map of commuter habits across Korea

SK Telecom and Statistics Korea did a project together to make an interactive map of people's commuting habits, by tracking the movements of users' mobile phones. You can scroll all around the map and select different regions to get a good idea of the population's movement habits. It's actually neater than it sounds.

There's a short English article about this:

SK Telecom and Statistics Korea said Monday they have started the pilot service of a foot traffic map using the telecom company’s mobile big data technology.

The map measures foot traffic across the country by using big data collected from SKT’s mobile network stations.

It shows the inflow and outflow of people in a particular area, and data can be rearranged according to weekdays, weekends or months.

SKT, Statistics Korea unveil foot traffic map

You can visit the map yourself and play around with it. Basically you choose a specific location in Korea, and the map generates these lines that connect to other locations, showing the average daily population movements to/from those locations. You can display by either "incoming" population or "outgoing" population.

So for example, take a look at this sample view I did:

SK Telecom Big Data Population Flow Mapping Service screenshot 

I stuck with 유입인구 (incoming population) on the left sidebar there, and then from the right sidebar I picked my desired location as 강원도 (Gangwon-do province) and then 강릉시 (Gangneung city).

The map generated a bunch of lines all coming out from Gangneung. Those lines represent mobile phone users who come into Gangneung. The darker areas represent areas from which more of those people are coming. In the image here you can see that a large number of people are coming into Gangneung from dark red Wonju.

I clicked on 평택시 (Pyeongtaek city) and the little info box popped up to tell me that, on average, 107 people from Pyeongtaek are coming into Gangneung daily. Neat.

Bear in mind that these are monthly averages distributed per day so there could actually be fairly large fluxuations depending on the specific day. And of course these are just SK customers, so the real number of actual people moving to and from is likely a bit more than double that number. So like 250 maybe.

You can also specify weekend traffic in right sidebar too if you want to distinguish weekday from weekend data and vice-versa.

To get the opposite (to see how many people are leaving a certain area and where they are going to), just click 유출인구 (outgoing population) from that left sidebar.

This is a great tool to get interesting insights. For example, I always just blindly assumed that large numbers of people were coming into Sejong City from Seoul, but the data suggests that that's not true. Most of the incoming people are from around the region, and the influx from Gangnam and other parts of Seoul, while substantial, is not really any greater than Sejong's immediate surrounding areas.

Influx of people into Sejong City screenshot

This is an interesting and fun way to kill an hour. Really a convenient way to sift through mountains of big data to get reasonable and accurate looks at how the population is really moving around the country.

Check it out yourself at this link:

If you don't like the "slanted" look, just use the right mouse button to adjust the viewing angle.

Have fun.