A.  Summary of compilation guidance

10.2.        It is good practice for compilers to explore the possibility of improving the quality of statistics on the international supply of services, including coverage and timeliness, offered by the use of additional data sources, and develop action plans to gradually incorporate them into the data collection activities, taking into account both their strengths and shortcomings. Compilers are encouraged to use additional  data sources as necessary, including payment card records, mobile phone records and external party sources, such as financial statements of companies, reports of chambers of commerce, records of investment promotion agencies, records of business associations, surveys conducted by other organizations (e.g., various line ministries may conduct special studies on the industries they supervise and may conduct surveys for this purpose), private databases, online search engines, online travel booking sites, data compiled by trading partners and linked microdata. 

10.3.        Compilers are further advised to consider the incorporation of various additional data sources in the context of big data initiatives, to undertake pilot projects in selected areas and to weigh the benefits of using big data with the objective of improving timeliness, filling data gaps and reducing cost, while maintaining the high- quality of official statistics on the international supply of services. Many of the aforementioned data sources are often placed under the umbrella term of big data. For the purposes of the present Guide, big data are sources that can be described as high volume and high velocity, with a wide variety of data that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of processing for enhanced insight and decision-making.[1]


[1]  See  ECE, “What does “big data” mean for official statistics?”, (2013), para. 6.