How a Community Data Platform and the Use of Mobility Data Are Helping Nantucket be Smarter and Stronger

APA Connecticut Chapter


Friday, October 19, 2018
9:45 a.m. - 11 a.m. EDT

CM | 1.25

Add to My Log


This session is intended for practitioners seeking an overview of how Community Data Platforms can help government, businesses, and non-profits make evidence-based decisions.

It also offers a first-time immersion in how personal mobile device activity (MDA) data can be used to gauge temporal variations in population flows to, from, and within local communities. The anonymous “pings” such devices emit are serviceable proxies for people’s local presence and spatial movement within a community. The advent of commercially-available MDA data introduces a wide range of possible applications to illuminate particular “blind spots” in a given community.

This session draws upon our experience in tailoring MDA data to illuminate such blind spots in Nantucket County, MA (coterminous with Nantucket Island). We will illustrate the nuts and bolts of gauging population flows to, from, and within Nantucket using a flexible “geo-fencing” technique. “Geo-fencing” establishes an electronic turnstile which registers aggregate volumes of entries and exits for some precisely defined locale--e.g., a subway or train station, a sports arena, mall, or park--where people congregate in widely varying numbers and for varying durations of time. Such data afford unique insights into daytime populations.

Our focus will be on how a community can translate such data into metrics for guiding transportation planning, service delivery, and infrastructure planning. We illustrate various metrics derived from “geofenced” locales on Nantucket:

1. Variations in gross flows of persons arriving on and departing from Nantucket by ferry or aircraft. Daily population turnover varies greatly by time of day and season.

2. Arrivals distinguished by type and duration of stay. Arrivals include tourists (whose stay may vary from a day to a week); residents of Cape Cod and greater Boston who commute regularly to jobs on Nantucket; and seasonal residents who occupy second homes on Nantucket. MDA data reveal the changing mix of arrivals, by time of day and season.

These illustrations will stimulate attendees to envision how potential applications of geofencing in their own communities could extract meaning from MDA data to address specific local concerns. Our presentation will be interactive, affording attendees ample opportunities to ask about the feasibility and “nuts and bolts” of such applications. We anticipate that attendees will leave with a clear vision of potential next steps.


Peter Morrison

Invited Speaker

Peter Morrison graduated from Dartmouth College and has a PhD from Brown University. His expertise is in demographic analysis for tracking socioeconomic trends and envisioning their consequences for public policy and business. Peter formerly was on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania and thereafter served as Senior Demographer at ... Read More

Alan Worden

Invited Speaker

Alan Worden has focused his career on the built environment. He received a B.A. in Architectural Studies from Hobart College and a M.S. in Real Estate Development from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation. He has built several companies focused on real estate ... Read More

Contact Info

Alan Worden,