President looks at possibilities for using big data at Statistics Estonia

  • 2018-10-18
  • LETA/TBT Staff

TALLINN – President Kersti Kaljulaid on Wednesday visited Statistics Estonia, where she learned about the possibilities for using big data and experimental statistics to produce official statistics and improve the physical and social environment of the people of Estonia.

"It is good to see how Statistics Estonia is working towards enabling easy and smart decision-making in the country," the president said after meeting with the leaders of Statistics Estonia. The head of state said that besides collecting and analyzing data, it is also increasingly important that data are easy to understand and use, and stated that she awaits with interest the personalized dashboards that Statistics Estonia is developing for the public sector.

"Central to the strategy of Statistics Estonia is offering personalized statistics and data sources to users who expect answers quickly and based on real-time data. So essentially we have to build up data governance that would contribute to making better decisions based on real-time data," said Mart Magi, director general of Statistics Estonia.

Magi noted that the most important foundation of a smart country and data-based decisions in the next decade is data that are of quality, in the right format and on time. The capacity to reuse data in the state has to be built which would ensure that one dataset would not be collected multiple times. The data collected in this way can be used for data mining to find quick answers to critical issues in the society.

"Through data governance, Statistics Estonia should become the cornerstone of the so-called e-state 2.0," Magi said.

Besides everyday work and the strategic directions of the next few years, the president was also interested in the opportunities to use big data and experimental statistics to produce official statistics.

"Big data provide the opportunity to produce statistics quicker and more effectively," said Magi.

While preparing for Estonia’s first register-based population and housing census, Statistics Estonia has tested the possibility of using the data of smart electricity meters in identifying vacant dwellings; electricity consumption data can also be used to observe population distribution dynamics.

"We are continuing work towards producing quality statistics from big data. The use of big data would enable Statistics Estonia to diversify its product portfolio and offer completely new statistics without significant administrative costs," he added.