Mobile Data Challenge (MDC) Dataset

MDC consists of large quantities of continuous data pertaining to the behaviour of individuals and social networks, recorded via mobile phones from 2009 to 2011 in the Lausanne/Geneva area. About 200 persons participated in the data collecting campaign.


This is a brief description of the Lausanne Data Collection Campaign (LDCC) [1], which was the basis of the Mobile Data Challenge 2012 [2]. This page essentially mirrors the page originally hosted at Nokia Research.


About the campaign

Idiap and NRC-Lausanne ran the Lausanne Data Collection Campaign (LDCC) from 2009 to 2011. The campaign was triggered by the rise of so-called people centric sensing paradigm [1], wherein sensors embedded in mobile phones and other wireless devices are used to collect large quantities of continuous data pertaining to the behaviour of individuals and social networks.


LDCC method

In LDCC, smart phones that collect behavioural data were allocated to nearly 200 individuals from Lake Geneva region. A viral marketing approach was used to promote the campaign, resulting in a great proportion of the individuals in the population being connected to one another.


Privacy measures

The research team behind the campaign had an ethical and legal obligation to ensure that the privacy of the individuals was respected. This required a holistic approach, all the way from communicating the privacy policy to the participants, to taking appropriate measures at the back end to protect the integrity of the database as well as anonymity of the participating individuals.


Design of data driven services

Sensing is often motivated by scientific aspects, but the mobile industry is also witnessing a rise in context aware mobile services that collect data from the users, analyze the data sets and identify higher order attributes, and feed these abstractions back to the service users. Hence in addition to conducting scientific analysis with our open innovation partners, we are actively engaged in the design and development of next generation data driven services. In an approach that we would like to categorize as data driven service innovation, mobile service concept ideas are generated based on patterns related to individuals as well as social networks.

In the framework of data driven service innovation, the key research questions revolve around how to create compelling user experiences based on the patterns extracted. According to our design philosophy, the user should be the key beneficiary of the data pertaining to her, and the one ultimately in control of how the data is used. Several service verticals could be relevant here, related to e.g. contextual life management, health and well-being, etc.


Mobile Data Challenge

To provide access to the LDCC data for the research community, NRC-Lausanne and Idiap launched the Mobile Data Challenge in 2011.



Get the MDC dataset




How do I get the data

  1. The data is available to eligible institutions as described above at the level of labs/groups, departments/institutes, or universities.
  2. Institution legal representatives are professors or heads of unit (for labs/groups), chairs of department/institute (for departments/institutes), or higher academic authorities (for universities.)
  3. The data is managed by a Site Manager (see below) designated by the Institution legal representative.
  4. If your institution is eligible, ask your Site Manager to contact us at mobiledata.challenge(at) We will collect the required information from them.
  5. We will prepare the final form for your institution legal representative to fill and sign.
  6. Once we get the filled and signed final form, we will generate and send the data.


Who is the Site Manager?

The Site Manager is the unique contact point at your institution for the MDC dataset management. The Site Manager can be either a physical person (with permanent staff status) or a service of your institution.

The Site Manager will ensure that:

  • Each Permitted Staff member has read, understood and signed the Permitted Staff Individual Agreement.

  • A scanned copy of each signed Permitted Staff Individual Agreement is provided to Licensor.

  • Access to the Database is provided to Permitted Staff only.

  • The Database is considered as confidential data among the Permitted Staff.

  • Permitted Staff must not process or reverse engineer any part of the Database in order to reveal personally identifiable information.


If you're not sure if your institution already has a designated site manager for MDC dataset, please contact us at mobiledata.challenge(at)



[1] N. Kiukkonen, J. Blom, O. Dousse, D. Gatica-Perez, and J. Laurila,

Towards Rich Mobile Phone Datasets: Lausanne Data Collection Campaign
Proc. ACM Int. Conf. on Pervasive Services (ICPS), Berlin, Jul. 2010

[2] J. K. Laurila, D. Gatica-Perez, I. Aad, J. Blom, O. Bornet, T-M-T. Do, O. Dousse, J. Eberle and M. Miettinen.
The Mobile Data Challenge: Big Data for Mobile Computing Research
Proc. Mobile Data Challenge Workshop (MDC) in conjunction with Pervasive, Newcastle, 2012