The lack of reliable population and visitor data impacts our ability to plan for the future of our community. This issue was identified as a significant challenge in developing several community projects. For example, not being able to accurately identify the number of people living in the community or forecast future population growth limits our ability to predict future housing or infrastructure needs, establish development cost charges, determine necessary policing levels, or plan for future transportation or tourism infrastructure needs.
This project allows us to use big data analytics to more accurately understand key population metrics for our community. Tourism stakeholders, the business community, and City staff will be better able to plan for the city’s future needs and to identify specific economic development opportunities. For example:
It is our belief that the entire community will benefit from this project, as it will help the community to operate more efficiently, and be more sustainable and forward-thinking in our economic development efforts.
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TELUS Insights uses an advanced approach to big data analytics that can help public and private organizations, as well as all levels of government, make smarter, more informed decisions based on real-world facts.
Using large sets of aggregated wireless network data, the Revelstoke TELUS Insights Data Project provides a 1-year analysis of the City of Revelstoke's population beginning in May, 2018 and continuing until April 30, 2019. The information provided includes origin and quantity of visitors, monthly comparisons of population metrics, and average dwell times. The data will be used by the City of Revelstoke and the City's designated Destination Marketing Organization (the Revelstoke Accommodation Association) to more accurately identify:
1. It helps us to market tourism in Revelstoke as effectively as possible
Data concerning where people are coming from and how long they are staying in the community will help with our tourism marketing efforts and will allow us to make more informed decisions around funding and planning an array of initiatives and projects. It will also help us to identify missed opportunities for attracting visitors from other areas of the province, country and world.
2. Reliable data lets us make smarter decisions
Reliable data on the number of visitors allows us to better understand:
3. It helps us to better understand the seasonal impacts on our community and plan accordingly
The data also enables us to measure the impacts of visitor traffic and increased tourism on Revelstoke and the local hospitality sector, including future workforce and staff housing needs, policing and emergency services, sanitation infrastructure, parks and recreational amenities, and business development.
A key issue that this project addresses is inaccurate and unreliable population data for the City of Revelstoke at different times during the year. Although we use Statistics Canada data, which is collected during the month of May every four years, the success of tourism in our community throughout different seasons makes it is extremely difficult to identify how many people are living or staying in the community at any given time. This lack of accurate resident data makes it challenging to plan for housing needs, business development, infrastructure upgrades, health care needs, and emergency preparedness.
This project was initiated by the City in partnership with the Revelstoke Accommodation Association and Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The project is managed by Community Economic Development for the City of Revelstoke, working directly with Telus through a contractual arrangement to collect and share the data.
Data is collected passively from the TELUS network in a prescribed Revelstoke Study Area for the study period. To protect the privacy of customers, several frameworks and measures are in place:
A data set was built with input from the Revelstoke project group and a series of algorithms are run on the data to identify specific characteristics, such as the:
We will regularly issue communication updates via the City’s website and all information that can be shared with the public will be posted to the Community Economic Development website.
We will also work with local service providers and other City departments to share the relevant data so that planning and service delivery is effective, targeted, and inclusive.
Data will be collected monthly from May 1st,2018 until April 30th,2019. Validation and communication will be ongoing for 2019.
It is important that these population counts are validated, so over the next several months we will be looking for opportunities to compare this data with other sources, including: