University of Oulu

P. Kostakos et al., "Correlating Refugee Border Crossings with Internet Search Data," 2018 IEEE International Conference on Information Reuse and Integration (IRI), Salt Lake City, UT, 2018, pp. 264-268. doi: 10.1109/IRI.2018.00048

Correlating refugee border crossings with internet search data

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Author: Kostakos, Panos1; Pandya, Abhinay1; Oussalah, Mourad1;
Organizations: 1Center for Ubiquitous Computing, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
3Department of Informatics and Telematics, Harokopio University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-01-22


Can Internet search data be used as a proxy to predict refugee mobility? The soaring refugee death toll in Europe creates an urgent need for novel tools that monitor and forecast refugee flows. This study investigates the correlation between refugee mobility data and Internet search data from Google Trends. Google Trends is a freely accessible tool that provides access to Internet search data by analyzing a sample of all web queries. In our study, we surveyed refugees in Greece (entry point) and in Finland (destination point) to identify what search queries they had used during their travel. Next, we conducted time series analysis on Google search data to investigate whether interest in user-defined search queries correlated with the levels of refugee arrival data recorded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Results indicate that the reuse of internet search data considerably improves the predictive power of the models.

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ISBN: 978-1-5386-2659-7
ISBN Print: 978-1-5386-2660-3
Pages: 264 - 268
DOI: 10.1109/IRI.2018.00048
Host publication: 2018 IEEE International Conference on Information Reuse and Integration (IRI)
Conference: IEEE International Conference on Information Reuse and Integration
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
Funding: This work is (partially) funded by the European Commission grant 770469-CUTLER and 645706-GRAGE.
EU Grant Number: (770469) CUTLER - Coastal Urban developmenT through the LEnses of Resiliency
(645706) GRAGE - Grey and green in Europe: elderly living in urban areas
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