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Big Data for spatial analysis in the EU





The EU would like to use data from private online platforms in order to develop territorial indicators. Together with DevStat, ESPON commissioned us to develop a framework for the collaboration and use of this data.

The aim of the “Territorial indicators based on Big Data" project is to develop a framework for cooperation with which the EU can regularly use data from private online platforms and thus use big data to develop territorial indicators. The project is part of the ESPON 2020 program. Potential cooperation partners are private online platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter, who can provide comparable data for a Europe-wide spatial analysis. Prognos, together with DevStat, has been entrusted with this project, which runs from December 2020 to November 2021.

The European Space Observation Network ESPON was established in 2002 by the EU Member States and the European Commission to improve the knowledge and information base for European spatial development policy. In addition to the 27 EU Member States, the neighbouring countries of the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Iceland are participating in the programme.

Data collaboration between companies and government agencies

“Another goal”, explains Dr Jan-Phillip Kramer, “is to demonstrate, using selected space-related indicators as an example, that data from online private platforms actually help to derive spatial trends”.

In its report in April 2018, “Building a Common European Data Area”, the European Commission formulated, among other things, principles for the sharing of data between companies and the public sector. The project work will be guided by this.

Course of action

  • Identify relevant, private big data platforms with territorial data
  • Consultation with experts and selected platforms regarding data access and usability
  • Development of territorial indicators based on big data sources
  • Piloting of the data sources in a focus study

More information on the territorial indicators based on big data project (ESPON website)

More information on the ESPON 2020 programme (ESPON website)

To the final report (PDF,



02.12.2021 | Study Presentation

On 2 December, Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer and Dr Georg Klose presented the results of the study "Territorial Indicators based on Big Data" as part of ESPONweek.

In addition to the presentation of results, the workshop "Territorial indicators based on big data from private digital platforms" also served to discuss challenges in data extraction and to consider how the ESPON Programme can build lasting cooperation with private digital platforms.

30.11.2021 | Results of Big Data analysis published

The results of the study "Territorial Indicators based on Big Data" are now available. A central result is a list of private digital platforms that can provide territorial data. Another list identifies possible territorial indicators that can be derived from the data of these platforms. These include demographic and social imbalances, employment and economic development, and nature, landscape and cultural heritage.

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer

Vice-Director, Head of EU-Services

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About us

Prognos – Providing Orientation.

Prognos is one of the oldest economic research centres in Europe. Founded at the University of Basel, Prognos experts have been conducting research for a wide range of clients from the public and private sectors since 1959 – politically independent, scientifically sound.

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